Persistence and detection of black truffle ectomycorrhizas in plantations: comparison between two field detection methods

Autores: Sánchez, S.; Ágreda, T.; Águeda, B.; Martín, M.; de Miguel Velasco, Ana María; Barriuso, J.
Título de la revista: MYCORRHIZA
ISSN: 0940-6360
Volumen: 24
Número: Supl. 1
Páginas: 39 - 46
Fecha de publicación: 2014
Owners of black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) plantations are concerned about the persistence of its mycorrhizas and mycelium in the soil, especially until the appearance of the "truffle burn" areas and the triggering of sporocarp production, at least 5-7 years after planting truffle-inoculated seedlings. During this period, the farmer does not know whether his management is promoting black truffle development. To study the presence and abundance of T. melanosporum ectomycorrhizas in plantations, two sampling methods, direct sampling of root tips and soil core collection, are compared by analyzing 48 evergreen oak trees (Quercus ilex) inoculated with truffle. Those trees are grouped by age (<6, 6-9, >9 years old) and presence or absence of truffle production. T. melanosporum was present in 46 out of the 48 studied trees, and its ectomycorrhizas appeared in 65 % of the ectomycorrhizal tips. Its abundance is significantly higher with productive trees and young trees. Direct sampling of root tips and soil core collection were equally effective in detecting this species, although soil core collection proved a better method to also evaluate ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity. To detect the presence of T. melanosporum in a given plantation, three samples suffice, with a single sample per random tree. Although the presence of mycorrhizas is not a sure sign of the future success of a black truffle plantation, its absence influences managers as to whether to continue culturing truffles in a plantation.