Indexed on: 01 Dec '99Published on: 01 Dec '99Published in: Mycorrhiza
Structures present within field-collected Tricholoma matsutake/Pinus densiflora ectomycorrhizas and in vitro infections of P. densiflora roots by T. matsutake were observed by clearing, bleaching and staining whole lateral roots and mycorrhizas. Field mycorrhizas were characterized by a lack of root hairs, by the presence of a sparse discontinuous mantle composed of irregularly darkly staining hyphae over the root surface, primarily behind the root cap, and by the presence of Hartig net mycelium within the root cortex. Hartig net 'palmettis' were classified into three basic structures, each with distinctive morphologies. Aerial hyphae, bearing terminal swellings, were observed emanating from the mantle. Cleared, bleached and stained in vitro-infected roots possessed multibranched hyphal structures within the host root cortex and aerial hyphae bearing terminal swellings were observed arising from the mycelium colonizing the root surface. T. matsutake on P. densiflora conforms to the accepted morphology of an ectomycorrhiza. This staining protocol is particularly suited to the study of Matsutake mycorrhizal roots and gives rapid, clear, high-contrast images using standard light microscopy while conserving spatial relationships between hyphal elements and host tissues.