A PCR based method to detect Russula spp. in soil samples and Limodorum abortivum roots in Mediterranean environments

Eduardo Larriba, Antonio Belda, Luis Vicente López-Llorca


Aim of study. Orchidaceae has the largest number of species of any family in the plant kingdom. This family is subject to a high risk of extinction in natural environments, such as natural parks and protected areas. Recent studies have shown the prevalence of many species of orchids to be linked to fungal soil diversity, due to their myco-heterotrophic behaviour. Plant communities determine fungal soil diversity, and both generate optimal conditions for orchid development.

Area of study. The work was carried out in n the two most important natural parks in Alicante (Font Roja and Sierra Mariola), in South-eastern of Spain.

Material and Methods. We designed a molecular tool to monitor the presence of Russula spp. in soil and orchids roots, combined with phytosociological methods.

Main results. Using a PCR-based method, we detected the presence in the soil and Limodorum abortivum orchid roots of the mycorrhizal fungi Russula spp. The species with highest coverage was Quercus rotundifolia in areas where the orchid was present.

Research highlights. We present a useful tool based on PCR to detect the presence of Russula spp. in a natural environment.  These results are consistent with those obtained in different studies that linked the presence of the mycorrhizal fungi Russula spp. in roots of the species Limodorum and the interaction between these fungal species and Quercus ilex trees in Mediterranean forest environments.

Key words: Detection; GIS; Russula spp.; Limodorum abortivum; PCR.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015241-06249

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems