The profusion of dark septate endophytic fungi in non-ectomycorrhizal fine roots of forest trees and shrubs

Authors

  • KARIN AHLICH,

    1. Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Forest Pathology and Dendrology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-Zentrum, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
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  • THOMAS N. SIEBER

    1. Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Forest Pathology and Dendrology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-Zentrum, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
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summary

Endophytic fungi were isolated from surface-sterilized non-ectomycorrhizal fine roots of 14 shrub and forest tree species of the northern temperate zone. With the exception of three host species, between 70 and 100% of the roots of each host yielded endophytic fungi. Species diversity was tow. Thirty-five taxa were found, nine of them in more than 1% of the 421 tree/shrub individuals examined. Dark septate endophytes (DSE; Mycelium radicis atrovirens-complex dominated the fungal assemblages of coniferous and ericaceous hosts. About one fifth of the DSE sporulated after 1 yr of incubation at 4 °C and in darkness, and could be identified as Phiolocephala fortinii. could be isolated from a wide range of hosts and sites (Abies alba, Calltheria vulgaria, Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris and vaccinium murtillus in in Switzerland; Alnus rubra and Gaultheria Gaulteria shallon in Canada; Picea abies and Picea sylvestris in Germany. Pilots sylvestris in Finland). Thus, P. fortinii seems to be neither host- nor site-specific. Four morphological types were recognized among the DSE-isolates. Type 1 was distinctly different because its aerial mycelium was very sparse or absent. In contrast to other types, type 1 never sporulated. Thus, type I isolates probably belong to a separate taxon. Most isolates were of type 2. About one quarter of the type 2, type 3 and type 4 isolates sporulated and could fee identified as P. fortinii. Types 3 and 4 are supposed to be variants at type 2. The relative proportion of each type seemed to depend on the site, but a clear pattern of host or site preference could not be recognized. Differences between types in micromorphology of colonies grown on water afiar overlaid with cellophane sheets were minimal and therefore cannot he used for routine differentiation. The features of the DSE observed in root squashes corresponded well with those detected in synthesis experiments or pathogenicity vests with P. fortinii in other studies. In this study DSE were, never seen in roof tissues proximal to the innermost phellogen. Cryptosporiopsis radicicola was isolated most frequently form roots of F. sylvatica but constituted only;i minor component of the fungal assemblages of A. alba. Pic. abies. and Pin. sylvestris.

Ancillary