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Mycorrhiza. 2007 Oct;17(7):607-25. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

Structural characterization and molecular identification of arbuscular mycorrhiza morphotypes of Alzatea verticillata (Alzateaceae), a prominent tree in the tropical mountain rain forest of South Ecuador.

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  • 1Systematic Botany, Mycology and Botanical Garden, Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The vast majority of the highly diverse trees in the tropical mountain rain forest of South Ecuador form arbuscular mycorrhizas, and previous molecular investigations revealed a high diversity of fungi. In this study, we present a first trial to link fungal DNA-sequences with defined morphotypes characterized on the basis of partly new mycelial features obtained from field material of one tree species, Alzatea verticillata. Fine roots were halved lengthwise to study the mycelium anatomy on one half and to obtain fungal nuclear rDNA coding for the small subunit rRNA of Glomeromycota from the other half. Light microscopy revealed conspicuously large amounts of mycelium attaching to the surface of the rootlets. The mycelium formed fine- or large-branched appressoria-like plates, vesicles of regular or irregular shape, and very fine, multibranched structures ensheathed by septate hyphae. These previously undescribed features of the supraradical mycelia combined with intraradical mycelium structures were used for distinguishing of four main morphogroups and subordinate 14 morphotypes. DNA sequences of Glomus group A, Acaulospora and Gigaspora, were obtained and linked to three morphogroups. Two sequence types within Glomus group A could be tentatively associated to subordinate morphotypes.

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