, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 611–625 | Cite as

Preliminary findings on identification of mycorrhizal fungi from diverse orchids in the Central Highlands of Madagascar

  • Kazutomo Yokoya
  • Lawrence W. Zettler
  • Jonathan P. Kendon
  • Martin I. Bidartondo
  • Andrew L. Stice
  • Shannon Skarha
  • Laura L. Corey
  • Audrey C. Knight
  • Viswambharan SarasanEmail author
Original Paper


The Orchid flora of Madagascar is one of the most diverse with nearly 1000 orchid taxa, of which about 90 % are endemic to this biodiversity hotspot. The Itremo Massif in the Central Highlands of Madagascar with a Highland Subtropical climate range encompasses montane grassland, igneous and metamorphic rock outcrops, and gallery and tapia forests. Our study focused on identifying culturable mycorrhizae from epiphytic, lithophytic, and terrestrial orchid taxa to understand their diversity and density in a spatial matrix that is within the protected areas. We have collected both juvenile and mature roots from 41 orchid taxa for isolating their orchid mycorrhizal fungi (OMF), and to culture, identify, and store in liquid nitrogen for future studies. Twelve operational taxonomic units (OTUs), of three known orchid mycorrhizal genera, were recognized by analysis of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of 85 isolates, and, by comparing with GenBank database entries, each OTU was shown to have closely related fungi that were also found as orchid associates. Orchid and fungal diversity were greater in gallery forests and open grasslands, which is very significant for future studies and orchid conservation. As far as we know, this is the first ever report of detailed identification of mycorrhizal fungi from Madagascar. This study will help start to develop a programme for identifying fungal symbionts from this unique biodiversity hotspot, which is undergoing rapid ecosystem damage and species loss. The diversity of culturable fungal associates, their density, and distribution within the Itremo orchid hotspot areas will be discussed.


Orchidaceae Fungal symbiont Rhizoctonia Tulasnella Ceratobasidium Sebacina In vitro 



We kindly thank the financial support received from Sainsbury Orchid Project, Bentham and Moxon Trust, and Margaret A Cargill Foundation. We acknowledge the invaluable assistance received from Gaëtan Ratovonirina and Landy Rajaovelona (KMCC), Solo Rapanarivo (PBZT) for field support during the collection; Korrie Edwards (Illinois College), and Helen Sandford, Margaret Ramsay, and Edward Jones (Kew) for technical assistance; Connie Gibas and Lynne Sigler (UAMH) for deposition of isolates; Stuart Cable (Kew) and Hanne Rasmussen for helpful suggestions; and Mike Fay and Robyn Cowan (Kew) for their advice on genetic fingerprinting of plant samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazutomo Yokoya
    • 1
  • Lawrence W. Zettler
    • 2
  • Jonathan P. Kendon
    • 1
  • Martin I. Bidartondo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Andrew L. Stice
    • 2
  • Shannon Skarha
    • 2
  • Laura L. Corey
    • 2
  • Audrey C. Knight
    • 2
  • Viswambharan Sarasan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Royal Botanic GardensRichmondUK
  2. 2.Department of BiologyIllinois CollegeJacksonvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Life SciencesImperial College LondonLondonUK

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