Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions
Vijayaraghavan, Srivathsan , Garcia, Margaret , Lowrey, Timothy , Porras-Alfaro, Andrea .
Plant-associated fungi: diversity and function in gypsophilic soils.
All plants form symbiotic associations with fungi but little is known about fungal communities associated with gypsophilic plants. Gypsophilic soils are mainly composed of calcium sulfate and are prevalent in parched areas of Earth covering more than 100 million hectares. The main objectives of this research project were to: 1. Evaluate fungal colonization patterns in roots of gypsophilic plants from New Mexico; 2. Evaluate the effect of fungal isolates on plant germination and growth; 3. Identify fungal isolates associated with gypsophilic plants and evaluate their potential cellulolytic activity. Roots were examined for nine species of gypsophilic plants from New Mexico. Microscopic analyses indicate that plants are mainly colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal and dark septate fungi. Grasses such as Sporobolus nealleyi and Bouteloua gracilis had the highest fungal colonization. Germination experiments showed pathogenic to mutualistic activities for different fungal isolates. Identification of fungal isolates using BLAST showed that Alternaria sp. was the dominant fungus found in the leaves, and Monosporascus canonballus was the dominant fungus found in the roots. A least 10% of these fungi showed the ability to degrade cellulose with potential applications in the biofuel industry. Based on colonization rates and diversity, fungal communities found in gypsophilic plants are complex and additional studies are necessary to evaluate the effect of fungal consortiums on plant survival and establishment.
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1 - Western Illinois University, Biology, Waggoner Hall. 1 University CIrcle, Macomb, IL, 61455, USA
2 - University Of New Mexico, Department Of Biology, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM