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Environ Microbiol. 2007 Apr;9(4):880-9.

Soil fungal communities in a Castanea sativa (chestnut) forest producing large quantities of Boletus edulis sensu lato (porcini): where is the mycelium of porcini?

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  • 1Institute of Microbiology, Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 25 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


A study was conducted in a Castanea sativa forest that produces large quantities of the edible mushroom porcini (Boletus edulis sensu lato). The primary aim was to study porcini mycelia in the soil, and to determine if there were any possible ecological and functional interactions with other dominant soil fungi. Three different approaches were used: collection and morphological identification of fruiting bodies, morphological and molecular identification of ectomycorrhizae by rDNA-ITS sequence analyses and molecular identification of the soil mycelia by ITS clone libraries. Soil samples were taken directly under basidiomes of Boletus edulis, Boletus aestivalis, Boletus aereus and Boletus pinophilus. Thirty-nine ectomycorrhizal fungi were identified on root tips whereas 40 fungal species were found in the soil using the cloning technique. The overlap between above- and below-ground fungal communities was very low. Boletus mycelia, compared with other soil fungi, were rare and with scattered distribution, whereas their fruiting bodies dominated the above-ground fungal community. Only B. aestivalis ectomycorrhizae were relatively abundant and detected as mycelia in the soil. No specific fungus-fungus association was found. Factors triggering formation of mycorrhizae and fructification of porcini appear to be too complex to be simply explained on the basis of the amount of fungal mycelia in the soil.

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