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Environ Pollut. 2009 May;157(5):1581-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.12.030. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Cd-tolerant Suillus luteus: a fungal insurance for pines exposed to Cd.

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Environmental Biology Group, Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Agoralaan, Gebouw D, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium.


Soil metal pollution can trigger evolutionary adaptation in soil-borne organisms. An in vitro screening test showed cadmium adaptation in populations of Suillus luteus (L.: Fr.) Roussel, an ectomycorrhizal fungus of pine trees. Cadmium stress was subsequently investigated in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings inoculated with a Cd-tolerant S. luteus, isolated from a heavy metal contaminated site, and compared to plants inoculated with a Cd-sensitive isolate from a non-polluted area. A dose-response experiment with mycorrhizal pines showed better plant protection by a Cd-adapted fungus: more fungal biomass and a higher nutrient uptake at high Cd exposure. In addition, less Cd was transferred to aboveground plant parts. Because of the key role of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis for tree fitness, the evolution of Cd tolerance in an ectomycorrhizal partner such as S. luteus can be of major importance for the establishment of pine forests on Cd-contaminated soils.

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