Influence of long-term repeated prescribed burning on mycelial communities of ectomycorrhizal fungi

Authors

  • Brigitte A. Bastias,

    1. Centre for Plant and Food Science, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC and NSW 1797, Australia;
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  • Zhihong Xu,

    1. Centre for Forestry and Horticultural Research and Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia
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  • John W. G. Cairney

    1. Centre for Plant and Food Science, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC and NSW 1797, Australia;
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Author for correspondence: John Cairney Tel: +61 29685 9903 Fax: +61 29685 9915 Email: j.cairney@uws.edu.au

Summary

  • • To demonstrate the efficacy of direct DNA extraction from hyphal ingrowth bags for community profiling of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) mycelia in soil, we applied the method to investigate the influence of long-term repeated prescribed burning on an ECM fungal community.
  • • DNA was extracted from hyphal ingrowth bags buried in forest plots that received different prescribed burning treatments for 30 yr, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles of partial fungal rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions were compared. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequence analyses were also used to compare clone assemblages between the treatments.
  • • The majority of sequences derived from the ingrowth bags were apparently those of ECM fungi. DGGE profiles for biennially burned plots were significantly different from those of quadrennially burned and unburned control plots. Analysis of clone assemblages indicated that this reflected altered ECM fungal community composition.
  • • The results indicate that hyphal ingrowth bags represent a useful method for investigation of ECM mycelial communities, and that frequent long-term prescribed burning can influence below-ground ECM fungal communities.

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