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Methods Enzymol. 2005;395:58-72.

Nucleic acid isolation from ecological samples--fungal associations, mycorrhizae.

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Department of Horticulture, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


Mycorrhizal fungi are among the most common symbioses found in terrestrial ecosystems, both natural and managed. They are important for many reasons, but most notably because of their positive effects on plant growth, which are mediated by their uptake of nutrients from the soil and transport of these to the roots. Moreover, many edible fungi are mycorrhizal. The study of mycorrhizal fungi has been hampered by the inability to identify species and individuals in the soil. This has been greatly aided by DNA-based methods, which first require the extraction of DNA. Herein, I discuss some general concerns that must be considered when extracting and purifying DNA from ecological samples and offer specific methods for soil, mycorrhizal roots, and fruiting bodies. These methods are rapid, safe, effective, relatively inexpensive, and convenient because they are based on commercially available kits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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