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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Sep;68(9):4567-73.

Identification and isolation of two ascomycete fungi from spores of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Scutellospora castanea.

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Institut d'Ecologie, Université de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Two filamentous fungi with different phenotypes were isolated from crushed healthy spores or perforated dead spores of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) Scutellospora castanea. Based on comparative sequence analysis of 5.8S ribosomal DNA and internal transcribed spacer fragments, one isolate, obtained from perforated dead spores only, was assigned to the genus Nectria, and the second, obtained from both healthy and dead spores, was assigned to Leptosphaeria, a genus that also contains pathogens of plants in the Brassicaceae. PCR and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR analyses, however, did not indicate similarities between pathogens and the isolate. The presence of the two isolates in both healthy spores and perforated dead spores of S. castanea was finally confirmed by transmission electron microscopy by using distinctive characteristics of the isolates and S. castanea. The role of this fungus in S. castanea spores remains unclear, but the results serve as a strong warning that sequences obtained from apparently healthy AMF spores cannot be presumed to be of glomalean origin and that this could present problems for studies on AMF genes.

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