1887

Abstract

Here we tested the hypothesis that species of the soil-inhabiting insect-pathogenic fungus are not randomly distributed in soils but show plant-rhizosphere-specific associations. We isolated from plant roots at two sites in Ontario, Canada, sequenced the 5′ EF-1α gene to discern species, and developed an RFLP test for rapid species identification. Results indicated a non-random association of three species (, and ) with the rhizosphere of certain types of plant species (identified to species and categorized as grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees). was the only species that was found associated with grass roots, suggesting a possible exclusion of and . Supporting this, experiments showed that conidia germinated significantly better in (switchgrass) root exudate than did or . and only associated with wildflower rhizosphere when co-occurring with . With the exception of these co-occurrences, was found to associate exclusively with the rhizosphere of tree species, predominantly (sugar maple), while was found to associate exclusively with the rhizosphere of shrubs and trees. These associations demonstrate that different species of associate with specific plant types.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • NSERC
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2011-10-01
2021-07-24
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