Original paper

Fungal root endophyte associations of medicinal plants

Zubek, Szymon; Błaszkowski, Janusz; Buchwald, Waldemar

Abstract

Fungal root endophytes were examined in 25 medicinal plant species from 24 genera and 14 families. Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) was found in 15 species. In roots of these plants, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) with coarse hyphae were dominant. The intensity of AMF colonization varied with particular species, ranging from 1.2% (Cannabis sativa) to 78.8% (Salvia przewalskii). The fine AM endophyte (Glomus tenue) hyphae were found only in 3 species. The AM morphology of 12 species was of the Arum-type, while 3 plants of the Apiaceae and Cannabaceae families revealed intermediate AM types. The mycelium of dark septate endophytes (DSE) was observed in 17 plant species; however, both the frequency of their occurrence in roots and the intensity of root colonization were low. The sporadic occurrence of Olpidium spp. sporangia was also observed in 5 plant species. Spores of 6 AMF species (Glomeromycota) were isolated from trap cultures established with soils collected from beneath the plants under study, namely Albahypha drummondii, Claroideoglomus claroideum, Funneliformis caledonius, Funneliformis mosseae, Paraglomus majewskii, and Septoglomus constrictum. The fungus most frequently found was F. mosseae, which also sporulated most abundantly in the cultures. In contrast, A. drummondii and F. caledonius were detected only in single cultures. Additionally, one morphotype with glomoid spores resembling those of Diversispora spp. was isolated from a single culture. The results constitute the first detailed report of the root endophyte associations of these plant species. Moreover, the mycorrhizal status of 11 plant species and 6 genera, and the AM morphology in 14 species, 10 genera and the Cannabaceae family, are reported for the first time.

Keywords

arbuscular mycorrhiza (am)arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (amf)am morphologydark septate endophytes (dse)olpidium spp