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Intraspecific Competition Results in Reduced Evenness of Tuber melanosporum Mating-Type Abundance from the Nursery Stage


The highly prized black truffle is a fungus mostly harvested in orchards planted with mycorrhizal seedlings. It is an obligatory outcrossing fungus with a single MAT locus containing two alternative mating-type idiomorphs. In the orchards, at the mycorrhizal level, these mating types are frequently spatially segregated. Some studies found that this segregation was pronounced from the nursery stage, whereas others did not find such a marked segregation. Besides, information on the host tree species and nursery conditions used in Spain, one of the main truffle-producing countries, are very scarce. In this study, we investigated the temporal dynamics of mating types in nursery seedlings of Quercus ilex and Quercus faginea, as well as the influence of cultural conditions in the nursery. Our results indicated that at the plant level, there was a trend for one of the mating types to dominate over the other from the first to the second year in the nursery, in both host species and both nursery conditions tested. However, this segregation process was not so sharp as previously reported. Our results support the hypothesis that intraspecific competition results in reduced evenness of mating-type abundance from the nursery stage, although almost all seedlings maintained both mating types and, at the seedling batch scale, the occurrence of both mating types was roughly balanced.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This work was funded by the collaboration agreement for the operation of CIET (funded by Diputación Provincial de Huesca, with the participation of CITA, Comarca de la Ribagorza and Ayuntamiento de Graus).

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Authors and Affiliations



E.G.-M., S.S., and S.G.-B. conceived and designed the study. Funding was secured by E.G.-M., and S.S. Laboratory protocols were conducted by E.G.-M., M.P.-P., and S.S. The data were analyzed by S.G.-B. The manuscript was initially written by E.G.-M., along with significant contributions from S.S. and S.G.-B.

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Correspondence to Eva Gómez-Molina.

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Gómez-Molina, E., Sánchez, S., Puig-Pey, M. et al. Intraspecific Competition Results in Reduced Evenness of Tuber melanosporum Mating-Type Abundance from the Nursery Stage. Microb Ecol (2022).

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  • Truffle cultivation
  • Tuber melanosporum
  • Mycorrhizal seedling
  • Ectomycorrhiza
  • Mating types
  • MAT genes