A leafless epiphytic orchid, Taeniophyllum glandulosum Blume (Orchidaceae), is specifically associated with the Ceratobasidiaceae family of basidiomycetous fungi
Leafless epiphytes in the Orchidaceae undergo a morphological metamorphosis in which the root has chloroplast-containing cortical cells and is the sole photosynthetic organ for carbon gain. All orchids are entirely dependent on mycorrhizal fungi for their carbon supply during seed germination, and this mycorrhizal association generally persists in adult plants. However, our knowledge of the mycorrhizal association of leafless epiphytic orchids remains limited, and the contribution of the mycorrhizal association to nutrient acquisition in these orchid species is largely unknown. In this study, the mycorrhizal fungi of a leafless epiphytic orchid, Taeniophyllum glandulosum, were identified molecularly using 68 mature plants and 17 seedlings. In total, 187 fungal internal transcribed spacer sequences were obtained, of which 99% were identified as Ceratobasidiaceae. These sequences were classified into five operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on 97% sequence similarity. The most frequent sequence was OTU1, which accounted for 91% of all Ceratobasidiaceae sequences, although other phylogenetically distinct Ceratobasidiaceae fungi were detected. These results show that T. glandulosum is specifically associated with a particular group of Ceratobasidiaceae. All mycorrhizal fungi found in T. glandulosum seedlings belonged to OTU1, which was also found in adult plants on the same host tree. The mycorrhizal fungi from 13 host tree species were compared, and T. glandulosum was preferentially associated with OTU1 on 11 tree species. In conclusion, T. glandulosum is specifically associated with Ceratobasidiaceae fungi and this specific association remains throughout the orchid life cycle and is found on divergent host tree species.
KeywordsCeratobasidiaceae Epiphytic orchid Leaflessness Orchid mycorrhizal fungi In situ seed bating
The authors thank Y. Endo, M. Gotoh, K. Higaki, S. Mori, T. Shimizu, M. Takashima, A. Takizawa, and K. Tanaka for collecting samples and K. Ureshino for valuable advices. The DNA sequencing analysis were made using a Genetic Analyzer spectrometer at Analytical Research Center for Experimental Sciences, Saga University.
This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 17K07536 and 18H02500.
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