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Mycorrhiza. 2008 Oct;18(8):375-83. doi: 10.1007/s00572-008-0186-1. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Multiple species of ectomycorrhizal fungi are frequently detected on individual oak root tips in a tropical cloud forest.

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  • 1Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. mhmorris@ucdavis.edu


The ecological importance of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi in tropical ecosystems is increasingly recognized, but few studies have used molecular methods to examine EM fungal communities in tropical forests. The diversity and composition of the EM community on Quercus crassifolia in a tropical montane cloud forest in southern Mexico were characterized using DNA sequencing of single root tips. Individual root tips commonly harbored multiple fungal species that resulted in mixed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products. By cloning and performing gel extractions on mixed PCR samples, we identified two or more EM fungi on 26% of the root tips. When non-EM fungi were considered, this figure increased to 31% of root tips. A total of 44 EM taxa and nine non-EM taxa were detected on roots from 21 soil cores (104 root tips). Taxa in the families Russulaceae, Cortinariaceae, Inocybaceae, and Thelephoraceae were frequent. This is the first study to characterize the belowground EM community in a tropical montane cloud forest.

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