, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 817-826
Date: 30 Dec 2011

Morphology, anatomy, and molecular studies of the ectomycorrhiza formed axenically by the fungus Sistotrema sp. (Basidiomycota)

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Several species of the corticioid (resupinate) genus Sistotrema of the cantharelloid clade (Basidiomycota) were recently found to be ectomycorrhizal. This changed the traditional assertion that all Sistotrema species are strictly wood rotting and suggests that the genus may be polyphyletic. In the present investigation, a still unknown root tip-associated fungal specimen (EW63) was isolated and found to be associated with an above-ground fruiting body. Sequencing of the ITS and the nucLSU DNA regions and phylogenetic analyses verified that the root-associated fungus and the fruiting body represented the same species, which was found to belong to the genus Sistotrema. To prove the ectomycorrhizal status of this strain, axenic Pinus sylvestris resyntheses in flask cultures were conducted. Growth parameters of the seedlings were determined and the morphology and anatomy of the synthesized mycorrhizas were described. Length and dry mass of the Pinus shoot as well as those of the total root tips were found to be enhanced as a result of the mycorrhizal association. Mycorrhizal frequency was high (51.5%) in these cultures. Mycorrhizal root tips were cottony light ochre with a thin plectenchymatic hyphal mantle. The clamps of the fruiting body hyphae as well as the mycorrhiza were ampullately inflated. This is the first report proving in axenic culture that a fungus belonging to the genus Sistotrema forms true ectomycorrhiza.