Homogenous stands of a wetland grass harbour diverse consortia of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Stefan G R Wirsel
FEMS Microbiology Ecology 2004 May 1, 48 (2): 129-38
A molecular approach was applied to investigate the colonisation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the wetland grass Phragmites australis. A PCR assay targeting the traditional families of the Glomeromycota yielded products that were used to construct libraries of 18S rDNA. Five hundred and forty six clones were typed by restriction analysis and 76 representatives were sequenced. The majority corresponded to a wide range of taxa within Glomus group A, a few belonged to the "Diversisporaceae" and none to the genera Scutellospora or Acaulospora. Among these sequences, some were very similar to those reported earlier, e.g. Glomus mosseae and G. fasciculatum, other pointed to various new taxa. Although this wetland habitat harboured just one single plant species, phylogenetic analysis exhibited 21 AMF phylotypes, which is in the same range as reported for other natural ecosystems composed of more diverse host communities. Diversity indices supported the perception that the AMF mycoflora associated with this natural grass "monoculture" is not depauperate as it had been described for grasses of crop monocultures. Soil conditions determined the mycorrhizal state of the host, since AMF were not detected at the lakeward front of the reed belt, which is permanently waterlogged.

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