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Associations between root-inhabiting fungi and 40 species of medicinal plants with potential applications in the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries

Piszczek, Piotr, Kuszewska, Karolina, Błaszkowski, Janusz, Sochacka-Obruśnik, Anna, Stojakowska, Anna, Zubek, Szymon
Applied soil ecology 2019
Arum, Claroideoglomus claroideum, Glomus mosseae, Olpidium, endophytes, gardens, industry, medicinal plants, morphs, mycorrhizal fungi, pharmacology, roots, secondary metabolites, soil chemical properties, spores, surveys, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae
Medicinal plants are an important part of the health system in many countries around the world. However, to date, <1% of global herbal species have been studied in terms of their interactions with soil-borne fungi; this figure includes arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which have been found to enhance the performance of medicinal plants. The aims of the present investigation were to examine overall mycorrhizal status, morphology of arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM), degree of root colonisation by AMF, and richness and composition of AMF species in relation to 40 plant species collected from the Garden of Medicinal Plants affiliated with the Institute of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow. In addition, the presence of root endophytes that frequently co-occur with AMF, such as dark septate endophytes (DSEs) and Olpidium spp., was examined. We also tested correlations between fungal parameters and soil chemical properties. The survey showed the occurrence of AMF in 35 plant species. In 32 of these species, AMF were of the Arum morphotype. In the case of two plant species, the Paris type was found, while one plant represented the intermediate morphotype. DSEs were recorded within the roots of 11 species, Olpidium spp. in 10 species. Twenty-two common species of AMF were identified from spores isolated from soils from beneath the plant species. The most frequently occurring species were Funneliformis constrictum, F. mosseae, and Claroideoglomus claroideum. No significant correlation was found between fungal parameters and soil chemical properties. The results of this study expand our knowledge about the ecology of the plants under study. They may be also useful in further studies on the use of AMF inoculation to enhance production of secondary metabolites in these plants.