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Microb Ecol. 2007 Nov;54(4):672-84. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Fungal diversity, dominance, and community structure in the rhizosphere of clonal Picea mariana plants throughout nursery production chronosequences.

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  • 1Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, Université de Montréal & Jardin botanique de Montréal, 4101 Sherbrooke street east, Montreal, Quebec, H1X 2B2, Canada.


Fungal diversity in the rhizosphere of healthy and diseased clonal black spruce (Picea mariana) plants was analyzed with regard to nursery production chronosequences. The four key production stages were sampled: mother plants (MP), 8-week-old cuttings (B + 0), second-year cuttings (B + 1), and third-year cuttings (B + 2). A total of 45 fungal taxa were isolated and identified based on cultural, phenotypic, and molecular characters. Members of phylum Ascomycota dominated, followed by Basidiomycota and Zygomycota. Diagnosis characters and distance analysis of the internal transcribed spacer rDNA sequences allowed the identification of 39 ascomycetous taxa. Many belong to the order Hypocreales, families Hypocreaceae and Nectriaceae, which contain many clusters of potentially pathogenic taxa (Cylindrocladium, Fusarium, and Neonectria) and are also ecologically associated with antagonistic taxa (Chaetomium, Hypocrea, Microsphaeropsis, Penicillium, Paecilomyces, Verticillium, Trichoderma, and Sporothrix). This is also the first report of a Cylindrocladium canadense association with disease symptoms and relation with Pestalotiopsis, Fusarium, Exserochilum, Rhizoctonia, and Xenochalara fungal consortia. Both production chronosequence and plant health considerably influenced fungal taxa assemblages. Unweighted pair-group arithmetic average clustering showed that isolates from MP, B + 0, and B + 1 plant rhizospheres clustered together within healthy or diseased health classes, whereas isolates from healthy and diseased B + 2 plants clustered together. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed substantial alteration in community assemblages with regard to plant health and yielded a principal axis direction that regrouped taxa associated with diseased plant rhizosphere soil, whereas the opposite axis direction was associated with healthy plants. Two diversity indices were defined and applied to assess the fungal taxa contribution (Tc) and persistence (Pi) throughout the production.

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