Molecular diversity of ericoid mycorrhizal endophytes isolated from Woollsia pungens



One hundred and sixty-eight sterile endophytic mycelia were isolated from roots of four Woollsia pungens (Cav.) F. Muell. (Epacridaceae) plants collected from a field site in New South Wales, Australia. All isolates formed typical ericoid mycorrhizal structures when inoculated onto roots of Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. (Ericaceae). Microsatellite-primed PCR fingerprints generated using the primers (GTG)5 and (GACA)4 indicated that considerable genetic diversity exists within the endophyte population. It was estimated that a minimum of 43 genetically distinct mycelial genets were present in the root systems of the sampled W. pungens population, with most genets confined to individual plants. Two genets, however, were present within the root systems of two adjacent plants. While most genets were represented by less than eight isolates, three genets contained up to 41 isolates, suggesting that root system colonization by some endophytic mycelia might be extensive.