Morphology and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi colonizing roots of dandelion and chive
Arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) are the plant root-fungus interactions that are most widespread mycorrhiza in nature. As classically defined, there are two major AM morphologies named after the plant genera in which they were first described: Arum- (intercellular hyphae with arbuscules mainly in inner root cortex), Paris- (extensive hyphal coils in outer root cortex), as well as intermediate morphotypes. In this study, dandelions and chives harvested in Saskatoon (SK, Canada) were examined for AM colonization and morphological types. A Multiple Quantitation Method (MQM) was used for assessing fungal colonization intensity using magnified epifluorescence images of lactofuchsin stained roots, plus details analyzed by high-resolution confocal fluorescence imaging. The results showed that host plants harbored diverse endorhizal fungi, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), septate endophytes (SE) and fine endophytes (FE), with varying abundances. The soil properties were assessed with respect to P status, organic matter and pH, but there was no correlation with the fungal abundance in this study. Both dandelion and chive roots had Arum- and Paris-type AM. In order to assess the applicability of a current model, I studied quantitative relationship between the cell packing pattern and AM morphotype. Cross sections of host roots were analyzed with Image J software to calculate the proportion of air spaces. The abundance of arbuscules (Arum-type) and hyphal coils (Paris-type) were significantly different in chive and dandelion roots. However, there was no difference in the proportion of air spaces in the inner or outer cortex. Therefore, host root cell packing does not appear to influence AM morphotype at least in the samples in this study. AM fungal diversity was preliminarily investigated by nested PCR with group specific primers, showing multiple PCR bands within root samples, and indicating the potential complexity of AMF groups. Further work to sequence the PCR products is needed to elucidate the AMF groups present.
Arum-, Paris-, Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, root cell packing, confocal epifluorescence microscopy
Master of Science (M.Sc.)