The Root Mycobiota of Betula aetnensis Raf., an Endemic Tree Species Colonizing the Lavas of Mt. Etna (Italy)

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Abstract

Betula aetnensis is an endemic tree of high conservation value, which thrives on the nutrientpoorvolcanic soils of Mount Etna. Since plant–microbe interactions could play a crucial role inplant growth, resource uptake, and resistance to abiotic stresses, we aimed to characterize the rootand rhizosphere microbial communities. Individuals from natural habitat (NAT) and forest nursery(NURS) were surveyed through microscopy observations and molecular tools: bacterial andfungal automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA), fungal denaturing gradient gelelectrophoresis (DGGE). B. aetnensis was found to be simultaneously colonized by arbuscular (AM),ectomycorrhizal (ECM), ericoid (ERM) fungi, and dark septate endophytes (DSE). A high diversity ofthe bacterial community was observed whilst the root fungal assemblage of NAT plants was richerthan that of NURS. Root and rhizosphere fungal communities from NAT plants were characterized byIllumina MiSeq sequencing. Most of the identified sequences were affiliated to Helotiales, Pezizales,and Malasseziales. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota dominated roots and rhizosphere but differed incommunity structure and composition. ECM in the roots mainly belonged to Tylospora and Leccinum,while Rhizopogon was abundant in the rhizosphere. The Helotiales, including ERM (mostly Oidiodendron)and DSE (mostly Phialocephala), appeared the dominant component of the fungal community.B. aetnensis harbors an extraordinarily wide array of root-associated soil microorganisms, which arelikely to be involved in the adaptation and resistance mechanisms to the extreme environmentalconditions in volcano Etna. We argue that nursery-produced seedlings could lack the necessarymicrobiota for growth and development in natural conditions.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-19
Numero di pagine19
RivistaForests
Volume12
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2021

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