An in vitro system was used for ectomycorrhizal synthesis of Cenococcum geophilum Fr. with Cathaya argyrophylla Chun et Kuang, an endangered species. Calli initiated from stem segments and adventitious roots differentiated from young seedlings were removed and cocultured with Cenococcum geophilum on a modified Murashige-Skoog medium. Fungal hyphae were visible within intercellular spaces of the callus 4 weeks after inoculation, but definite and well-developed Hartig net structures did not form in the calli 8 weeks after inoculation. The typical ectomycorrhizal structures (i.e. hyphal mantle and intracortical Hartig net) were observed in root segments 8 weeks after inoculation. This is the first report of aseptic ectomycorrhizal-like formation/infection between root organ/callus of Cathaya argyrophylla and the ectomycorrhizal fungus Cenococcum geophilum. This culture system is useful for further investigation of mycorrhizal synthesis in Cathaya trees.
(Managing editor: Ya-Qin Han)