, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 489–496 | Cite as

Differences in the composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities promoted by different propagule forms from a Mediterranean shrubland

  • Sara Varela-CerveroEmail author
  • Álvaro López-García
  • José Miguel Barea
  • Concepción Azcón-Aguilar
Original Article


As it is well known, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonization can be initiated from the following three types of fungal propagules: spores, extraradical mycelium (ERM), and mycorrhizal root fragments harboring intraradical fungal structures. It has been shown that biomass allocation of AM fungi (AMF) among these three propagule types varies between fungal taxa, as also differs the ability of the different AMF propagule fractions to initiate new colonizations. In this study, the composition of the AMF community in the roots of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L., a characteristic Mediterranean shrub), inoculated with the three different propagule types, was analyzed. Accordingly, cuttings from this species were inoculated with either AMF spores, ERM, or colonized roots extracted from a natural soil. The AMF diversity within the rosemary roots was characterized using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of the small subunit (SSU) rDNA region. The AMF community established in the rosemary plants was significantly different according to the type of propagule used as inoculum. AMF taxa differed in their ability to initiate new colonizations from each propagule type. Results suggest different colonization strategies for the different AMF families involved, Glomeraceae and Claroideoglomeraceae colonizing mainly from colonized roots whereas Pacisporaceae and Diversisporaceae from spores and ERM. This supports that AMF taxa show contrasting life-history strategies in terms of their ability to initiate new colonizations from the different propagule types. Further research to fully understand the colonization and dispersal abilities of AMF is essential for their rational use in ecosystem restoration programs.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Propagule types Colonization strategies Life-history traits Mediterranean environments 



Sara Varela-Cervero thanks the Formación de Personal Investigador Programme (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) for the financial support. This research was supported by the Spanish government under the Plan Nacional de I + D + I, co-financed by FEDER funds (project CGL-2009-08825), and the Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Economía, Innovación y Ciencia (project CVI-7640). We also thank the Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía (Spain), for the permission to work in Sierra de Baza Natural Park. We sincerely thank Estefanía Berrio for the technical assistance.

Supplementary material

572_2016_687_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Soil Microbiology and Symbiotic Systems DepartmentEstación Experimental del Zaidín, CSICGranadaSpain

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