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Arbuscular mycorrhizal and septate endophyte fungal associations in lycophytes and ferns of south India

Muthukumar, Thangavelu, Prabha, Kandasamy
Symbiosis 2013 v.59 no.1 pp. 15-33
Adiantum, Angiopteris, Claroideoglomus, Glomus, Marsilea quadrifolia, Nephrolepis exaltata, Ophioglossum, Pteridium aquilinum, Pteris, Salvinia molesta, Selaginella, endophytes, epiphytes, ferns and fern allies, fungal spores, fungi, soil, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae, India
We studied extent and type of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and septate endophytic (SE) fungal associations in five lycophytes and 50 ferns collected from Eastern and Western Ghats regions. Of the 54 species and one variety (belonging to 31 genera) examined; 54 taxa had AM association and AM fungal structures were absent in Marsilea quadrifolia. This is the first report of AM and SE fungal status for 26 species each. Of the 55 taxa examined, AM morphology has been evaluated for the first time in 51 species. The hydrophytic fern Salvinia molesta was mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal at different sites. All the epiphytic and saxicolous species examined were mycorrhizal. The percentage of AM colonization ranged from 22.23 (Christella parasitica) to 82.20 (Adiantum lunulatum) in ferns and 53.46 (Selaginella bryopteris) to 84.34 (Selaginella sp.) in lycophytes. Epiphytic life-forms had the maximum average AM colonization levels, whereas aquatic life-forms had the minimum colonization levels. The percentage root length colonized by septate fungi ranged between 0.59 in Ophioglossum reticulatum and 16.36 in Pteris pellucida. The root length with AM and SE fungal structures as well as their total colonization significantly varied among the taxa examined. Most of the lycophytes and ferns had intermediate-type of AM morphology with a few exhibiting Paris-type. AM fungal spore numbers ranged from 1.0 (Angiopteris evecta, Pteridium aquilinum) to (Nephrolepis exaltata) 9.3 spores per 25 g soil and varied significantly among taxa. AM fungal spore morphotypes belonging to Claroideoglomus, Funneliformis, Glomus and Rhizophagus were recorded.