Shifts in soil fungal communities in Tuber melanosporum plantations over a 20-year transition from agriculture fields to oak woodlands

Keywords: Quercus ilex, ectomycorrhiza diversity, fungal succession, truffle cultivation.


Aim of study: To explore the diversity of soil fungi found in black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) plantations following the introduction of the mycorrhizal-colonized host tree, (Quercus ilex), through the development of the brûlé and production of mature sporocarps.

Area of study: This research was carried out province of Teruel, Aragon (central eastern Spain).

Material and Methods: Soil samples from 6 plantations were collected beneath Q. ilex trees inoculated with T. melanosporum, of 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 and 20 years after out planting in truffle plantations. Soil DNA was extracted, PCR-amplified and sequenced to compare soil fungi present at different ages.

Main results: As tree age increased, we observed an increased frequency of T. melanosporum (from 8% to 71% of sequenced colonies) and concomitant decrease in the combined frequency of Fusarium spp. and Phoma spp. (from 64% to 3%).

Research highlights: There are important shifts in species richness and in functional groups in the soil fungal communities in maturing black truffle-oak woodland plantations. The observed inverse relationship between the frequency of soil endophytic and/or pathogenic fungi and that of the mycorrhizal mutualist T. melanosporum provides support to continue a deeper analysis of shifts in fungal communities and functional groups where there is a transition from agriculture fields to woodlands.

Abbreviations used: Ectomycorrhiza (ECM) fungus; Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM); Operational taxonomic unit (OTU).


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Author Biography

Christine R. Fischer, Forest Science Center of Catalonia (CTFC-CEMFOR), Solsona.

Dept. Non-wood Forest Products

Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia



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How to Cite
Bing, L., Fischer, C. R., Bonet, J.-A., Castaño, C., & Colinas, C. (2016). Shifts in soil fungal communities in Tuber melanosporum plantations over a 20-year transition from agriculture fields to oak woodlands. Forest Systems, 25(1), eSC05.
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