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Mycol Res. 2003 Oct;107(Pt 10):1210-20.

Development of in situ and ex situ seed baiting techniques to detect mycorrhizal fungi from terrestrial orchid habitats.

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  • 1School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia.


An innovative ex situ fungal baiting method using soil collected from field sites which allows the simultaneous detection of mycorrhizal fungi for multiple terrestrial orchids is presented. This method demonstrated that coarse organic matter (> 2 mm) in the litter and topsoil was the most important reservoir of inoculum of these fungi. A new in situ seed baiting method using multi-chambered packets to simultaneously assess germination for different orchid species within soil is also introduced. These in situ and ex situ methods are compared using seed of orchids in the genera Monadenia, Microtis, Caladenia, Pterostylis and Diuris, using urban Banksia woodland sites with high or low weed cover. Both these seed baiting methods detected compatible fungi for these orchids, but common orchids germinated more frequently than those which were uncommon at the field sites. Germination rates were not significantly affected by weed cover even though adult orchids were rare in areas with high weed cover. The two new seed baiting methods vary in efficiency and applicability depending on the situation where they are used. However, the ex situ method allowed the time-course of germination to be observed, resulting in the production of more protocorms and facilitation of the isolation of mycorrhizal fungi. These techniques provide valuable new tools for detection of compatible mycorrhizal fungi to assist orchid research and conservation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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