Fungal root endophytes of the carnivorous plant Drosera rotundifolia



Quilliam R & Jones DL (2010) Fungal root endophytes of the carnivorous plant Drosera rotundifolia. Mycorrhiza, 20 (5), pp. 341-348.

As carnivorous plants acquire substantial amounts of nutrients from the digestion of their prey, mycorrhizal associations are considered to be redundant; however, fungal root endophytes have rarely been examined. As endophytic fungi can have profound impacts on plant communities, we aim to determine the extent of fungal root colonisation of the carnivorous plant Drosera rotundifolia at two points in the growing season (spring and summer). We have used a culture-dependent method to isolate fungal endophytes and diagnostic polymerase chain reaction methods to determine arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi colonisation. All of the roots sampled contained culturable fungal root endophytes; additionally, we have provided molecular evidence that they also host arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Colonisation showed seasonal differences: Roots in the spring were colonised by Articulospora tetracladia, two isolates of uncultured ectomycorrhizal fungi, an unidentified species of fungal endophyte and Trichoderma viride, which was present in every plant sampled. In contrast, roots in the summer were colonised by Alatospora acuminata, an uncultured ectomycorrhizal fungus, Penicillium pinophilum and an uncultured fungal clone. Although the functional roles of fungal endophytes of D. rotundifolia are unknown, colonisation may (a) confer abiotic stress tolerance, (b) facilitate the acquisition of scarce nutrients particularly at the beginning of the growing season or (c) play a role in nutrient signalling between root and shoot.

Fungal endophytes; Mycorrhizas; Carnivorous plants; Drosera; Abiotic stress; Roots

Mycorrhiza: Volume 20, Issue 5

Publication date30/06/2010

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Professor Richard Quilliam

Professor Richard Quilliam

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences