Mulch removal time did not have significant effects on Tuber melanosporum mycelium biomass
Aim of study: We aimed to i) evaluate the effects of mulching on Tuber melanosporum mycelium biomass and seedling growth (i.e. root collar diameter and seedling height) and ii) unravel the relationship between growth in root collar diameter and mycelium abundance, in a T. melanosporum plantation.
Area of study: The experimental plantation is located in the Pre-Pyrenees mountains in Catalonia, Spain.
Material and methods: The experimental plantation was established in 2010 using one-year-old T. melanosporum inoculated Quercus ilex seedlings. Double-layered mulch materials were placed around the seedlings. The mulch materials were removed from randomly selected seedlings in 2015 and 2018. Soil samples were collected in 2018 at 40 and 80 cm distances from seedlings that had mulching during five and eight years, and T. melanosporum mycelium biomass was estimated by quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR). Seedling root collar diameter and height were measured simultaneously when mulch materials were removed.
Main results: Mulch removal time did not have significant effects on T. melanosporum mycelium biomass or seedling growth. However, mycelium biomass at 40 cm distance tended to be higher on seedlings after eight-year mulching with 0.9 mg/g soil whereas mycelium biomass was 0.4 mg/g soil after five-year mulching. A positive relationship between mycelium biomass and seedling root collar diameter was also found.
Research highlights: Mulching seems to have a positive effect on truffle mycelium biomass, with nearly two times higher quantity of mycelium after eight-years compared with five-years mulching usage. Seedling root collar diameter is a good indicator of mycelium expansion in the plantation.
Keywords: Black truffle; Quercus ilex; mulching; tree growth; truffle cultivation.
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