, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 473-481
Date: 13 Feb 2010

Ectomycorrhizal community structure of different genotypes of Scots pine under forest nursery conditions

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In this paper, we report the effect of Scots pine genotypes on ectomycorrhizal (ECM) community and growth, survival, and foliar nutrient composition of 2-year-old seedlings grown in forest bare-root nursery conditions in Lithuania. The Scots pine seeds originated from five stands from Latvia (P1), Lithuania (P2 and P3), Belarus (P4), and Poland (P5). Based on molecular identification, seven ECM fungal taxa were identified: Suillus luteus and Suillus variegatus (within the Suilloid type), Wilcoxina mikolae, Tuber sp., Thelephora terrestris, Cenococcum geophilum, and Russuloid type. The fungal species richness varied between five and seven morphotypes, depending on seed origin. The average species richness and relative abundance of most ECM morphotypes differed significantly depending on pine origin. The most essential finding of our study is the shift in dominance from an ascomycetous fungus like W. mikolae in P2 and P4 seedlings to basidiomycetous Suilloid species like S. luteus and S. variegatus in P1 and P5 seedlings. Significant differences between Scots pine origin were also found in seedling height, root dry weight, survival, and concentration of C, K, Ca, and Mg in the needles. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient revealed that survival and nutritional status of pine seedlings were positively correlated with abundance of Suilloid mycorrhizas and negatively linked with W. mikolae abundance. However, stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that only survival and magnesium content in pine needles were significantly correlated with abundance of ECM fungi, and Suilloid mycorrhizas were a main significant predictor. Our results may have implications for understanding the physiological and genetic relationship between the host tree and fungi and should be considered in management decisions in forestry and ECM fungus inoculation programs.