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Keywords:

  • Tuber aestivum;
  • Tuber orchard;
  • host preference;
  • hazel;
  • hornbeam;
  • ITS sequencing

Abstract

Truffles (Tuber spp.) and other ectomycorrhizal species form species-rich assemblages in the wild as well as in cultivated ecosystems. We aimed to investigate the ectomycorrhizal communities of hazels and hornbeams that are growing in a 24-year-old Tuber aestivum orchard. We demonstrated that the ectomycorrhizal communities included numerous species and were phylogenetically diverse. Twenty-nine ectomycorrhizal taxa were identified. Tuber aestivum ectomycorrhizae were abundant (9.3%), only those of Tricholoma scalpturatum were more so (21.4%), and were detected in both plant symbionts with a variation in distribution and abundance between the two different hosts. The Thelephoraceae family was the most diverse, being represented by 12 taxa. The overall observed diversity represented 85% of the potential one as determined by a jackknife estimation of richness and was significantly higher in hazel than in hornbeam. The ectomycorrhizal communities of hornbeam trees were closely related phylogenetically, whereas no clear distribution pattern was observed for the communities in hazel. Uniform site characteristics indicated that ectomycorrhizal relationships were host mediated, but not host specific. Despite the fact that different plant species hosted diverse ectomycorrhizal communities and that the abundance of T. aestivum differed among sites, no difference was detected in the production of fruiting bodies.