Edible ectomycorrhizal fungi and Cistaceae. A study on compatibility and fungal ecological strategies

Rui Albuquerque-Martins, Pedro Carvalho, Daniel Miranda, Maria Teresa Gonçalves, António Portugal

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Wild edible mycorrhizal mushrooms are among the most appreciated and prized mushrooms in the world. Despite the cultivation of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) mushrooms has been a growing subject of study worldwide, it has been hampered by the mutualistic lifestyle of the fungi. Although not being obligate symbionts, most of the species of ECM mushrooms only produce fruit bodies in association with trees or shrubs. In the present study, we aimed at understanding certain aspects of the ecology of four different edible ECM fungi: Lactarius deliciosus, Tricholoma equestre, T. portentosum and Boletus fragrans. Despite having a broad distribution worldwide, these fungi inhabit also Mediterranean habitats with understories typically dominated by rockroses (Cistaceae). Studying the ecology of these mutualistic fungi as well as the interaction with these species of shrubs is not only scientifically relevant but also pivotal for the discovery of profitable cultivation protocols. We evaluated the compatibility of these ECM species with five species within Cistaceae family - Cistus ladanifer, C. psilosepalus, C. salviifolius, Halimium halimifolium and Tuberaria lignosa. Each species of fungi proved to be able to establish mycorrhizas with at least 2 different plants species but varied in their host range of the tested Cistaceae. The dissimilarity in terms of host specificity between some fungal species seemed to be connected with the phylogenetic distances of the fungi. A correlation between the colonization percentage of the root systems and the mycelial growth rates in pure culture was found. The connection of these traits might be an important key to understanding the ecological competitor-colonizer tradeoffs of these ECM fungal species. Altogether, our study reports unknown plant-fungi combinations with economical relevance and also adds new insights about the ecology of these species of ECM fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0226849
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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