Indexed on: 16 Oct '12Published on: 16 Oct '12Published in: Mycorrhiza
The ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Tricholoma matsutake associates with members of the Pinaceae such as Pinus densiflora (red pine), forming a rhizospheric colony or "shiro," which produces the prized "matsutake" mushroom. We investigated whether the host specificity of T. matsutake to conifers is innately determined using somatic plants of Cedrela odorata, a tropical broad-leaved tree (Meliaceae) that naturally harbors arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. We found that T. matsutake could form in vitro shiro with C. odorata 140 days after inoculation, as with P. densiflora. The shiro was typically aromatic like that of P. densiflora. However, this was a root endophytic interaction unlike the mycorrhizal association with P. densiflora. Infected plants had epidermal tissues and thick exodermal tissues outside the inner cortex. The mycelial sheath surrounded the outside of the epidermis, and the hyphae penetrated into intra- and intercellular spaces, often forming hyphal bundles or a pseudoparenchymatous organization. However, the hyphae grew only in the direction of vascular bundles and did not form Hartig nets. Tricholoma fulvocastaneum or "false matsutake" naturally associates with Fagaceae and was also able to associate with C. odorata as a root endophyte. With T. matsutake, C. odorata generated a number of roots and showed greatly enhanced vigor, while with T. fulvocastaneum, it generated a smaller number of roots and showed somewhat lesser vigor. We argue that the host-plant specificity of ectomycorrhizal matsutake is not innately determined, and that somatic arbuscular mycorrhizal plants have a great potential to form mutualistic relationships with ectomycorrhizal fungi.