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The ectomycorrhizal fungus Tricholoma matsutake is a facultative saprotroph in vitro



The ectomycorrhizal fungus Tricholoma matsutake is a facultative saprotroph in vitro



Mycorrhiza 22(6): 409-418



Tricholoma matsutake is an economically important ectomycorrhizal fungus of coniferous woodlands. Mycologists suspect that this fungus is also capable of saprotrophic feeding. In order to evaluate this hypothesis, enzyme and chemical assays were performed in the field and laboratory. From a natural population of T. matsutake in southern Finland, samples of soil-mycelium aggregate (shiro) were taken from sites of sporocarp formation and nearby control (PCR-negative) spots. Soil organic carbon and activity rates of hemicellulolytic enzymes were measured. The productivity of T. matsutake was related to the amount of utilizable organic carbon in the shiro, where the activity of xylosidase was significantly higher than in the control sample. In the laboratory, sterile pieces of bark from the roots of Scots pine were inoculated with T. matsutake and the activity rates of two hemicellulolytic enzymes (xylosidase and glucuronidase) were assayed. Furthermore, a liquid culture system showed how T. matsutake can utilize hemicellulose as its sole carbon source. Results linked and quantified the general relationship between enzymes secreted by T. matsutake and the degradation of hemicellulose. Our findings suggest that T. matsutake lives mainly as an ectomycorrhizal symbiont but can also feed as a saprotroph. A flexible trophic ecology confers T. matsutake with a clear advantage in a heterogeneous environment and during sporocarp formation.

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Accession: 036235672

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PMID: 22005782

DOI: 10.1007/s00572-011-0416-9


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