Plant and Soil

, Volume 418, Issue 1–2, pp 493–505 | Cite as

Soil pH and mineral nutrients strongly influence truffles and other ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with commercial pecans (Carya illinoinensis)

  • Zai-Wei GeEmail author
  • Timothy Brenneman
  • Gregory Bonito
  • Matthew E. SmithEmail author
Regular Article


Background and aims

Pecan truffles (Tuber lyonii) have high commercial value and the potential to be produced in a dual-cropping system with pecan. However, little is known about the linkages among ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal diversity, community structure, and environmental factors in pecan orchard ecosystems. Our aim is to investigate how soil pH and other edaphic factors influence the richness and composition of ECM fungi.


We characterized the soil factors and ECM fungal community associated with pecan and adjacent native trees with 454 pyrosequencing at a regional scale, and tested whether the effects of pH and soil factors altered the ECM fungal communities.


Overall ECM fungal diversity associated with pecan trees was high and about a third of all taxa were shared with native trees adjacent to orchards. The community structure was correlated significantly with soil variables including K, Ca, Mg, Mn, P, Zn and soil pH, but not organic matter. Soil pH was positively correlated with species diversity in the /tuber-helvella, /galactinia, /pachyphloeus-amylascus, and /pisolithus-scleroderma lineages.


pH and soil factors play a key role in regulating the ECM fungal communities in pecan orchards. The frequency and abundance of the pecan truffle and related species is positively and significantly correlated with higher soil pH.


Carya illinoinensis Tuber lyonii Ectomycorrhizal fungi Fungal community Juglandaceae Soil pH 



We gratefully acknowledge the many pecan farmers who graciously allowed us to sample on their properties. This work was financially supported by a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant (OS13-082, to MES) and a UF Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences Early Career Seed Funding grant (to MES) with additional support from University of Florida. ZG is partially supported by the NSFC (No. 31461143031). GB is grateful to MSU and AgBioResearch for research support.

Author contributions

MS, GB, and ZG designed the research; MS, ZG and TB collected the samples; ZW gathered experimental data and carried out data analyses; ZG and MS drafted the manuscript; MS, GB, TB and ZG edited and improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2017_3312_Fig7_ESM.jpg (518 kb)
Fig. S1

The frequency of different fungal lineages detected from 95 trees in this study. Individual OTUs are color coded for whether they were detected only on pecan trees (light grey, n = 76), only on native trees (dark grey, Quercus and Carya) adjacent to pecan orchards (n = 19), or whether they were found on both pecans and native trees (black). (JPEG 518 kb)

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High resolution image (EPS 1315 kb)
11104_2017_3312_Fig8_ESM.jpg (2.6 mb)
Fig. S2

Species (OTU) accumulation curves of ECM fungi associated with pecan trees (A) and adjacent native trees (B). In plate A, the curve was calculated using the analytical species-accumulation method for the 25 pecan orchards root samples, each orchard contained three randomly sampled pecan trees. (JPEG 2658 kb)

11104_2017_3312_MOESM2_ESM.eps (1.1 mb)
High resolution image (EPS 1106 kb)
11104_2017_3312_Fig9_ESM.jpg (2.9 mb)
Fig. S3

Partitioning of lineages richness of the total ECM fungal community (A) and OTU abundance of Pezizales (B) into pH, Minerals (P + K + Ca + Mg + Mn + Zn), and organic matter (OM) components in pecan orchards. Values in the fractions represent adjusted R2 coefficients of the independent or shared effects. The total effect (including the independent and shared effects) of each explanatory component is shown in parentheses. (JPEG 3004 kb)

11104_2017_3312_MOESM3_ESM.eps (618 kb)
High resolution image (EPS 618 kb)
11104_2017_3312_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (168 kb)
Table S1 Locality information and the abiotic factors of the samples from these sites (PDF 167 kb)
11104_2017_3312_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (121 kb)
Table S2 454 primers used in this study (PDF 120 kb)
11104_2017_3312_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (3.9 mb)
Table S3 The full OTU table matrix (PDF 3946 kb)
11104_2017_3312_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (10 kb)
Table S4 Comparison of soil factors between sites with truffles (Tuber spp.) detected and plots without truffles detected. (PDF 9 kb)
11104_2017_3312_MOESM8_ESM.pdf (204 kb)
Table S5 Molecular identification of ectomycorrhizal fungi based on ITS1 sequences. (PDF 204 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East AsiaKunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of GeorgiaTiftonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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