Host associations of Tricholoma magnivelare, the American matsutake Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vt150p020

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  • Beginning in the 1980s, large-scale commercial harvest of Tricholoma magnivelare created a need for management of forests to ensure sustainability, but little was known of the biology or ecology of this species to guide management decisions. Four of the five studies presented here explore the basic synecology of T. magnivelare with its hosts to determine the types of mycorrhizal associations formed and the range of potential hosts capable of supporting T. magnivelare. The fifth study tested an olfactory detection method, possibly simplifying large-scale surveys for T. magnivelare in the field. Tricholoma magnivelare forms ectomycorrhizae on hosts in three plant families, the Pinaceae, Fagaceae and Ericaceae, and on at least nine genera in those families. The mycorrhizae formed are consistent with types normally observed for each host, including gymnosperm and angiosperm variants of ectomycorrhizae on Pinaceae and Fagaceae, respectively, and arbutoid and monotropoid mycorrhizae on members of the Ericaceae. One host, the non-photosynthetic Allotropa virgata, forms a specific or nearly specific relationship with T. magnivelare. Ectomycorrhizae formed by T. magnivelare produce unusual defense responses on some hosts including accumulation of pigmented materials in the epidermis and cortex, followed by necrosis and sloughing of the cortex. In an experiment comparing responses of Pinus contorta seedlings to colonization by T. magnivelare and A. muscaria to test for evidence of pathogenicity, no differences were observed in biomass or root to shoot ratio, but T. magnivelare stimulated lateral root branching. Synthesis environments lacking exogenous glucose failed to support T. magnivelare ectomycorrhizae and complete development only occurred at 10 gL⁻¹ glucose. These results are consistent with other late-seral ectomycorrhizal fungi. Human olfaction used to detect T. magnivelare in soil produced a reasonably strong correlation with mushroom production in field plots (R²=0.71). In the laboratory, trained and screened volunteers correctly identified 98% of samples and false-positive error rates improved as volunteers sniffed more samples. Whether improved false-positive error rates produce a net improvement in accuracy and precision requires further testing. Olfactory detection combined with knowledge of host associations creates a unique opportunity to study the ecology of T. magnivelare at stand or landscape scales.
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