Department of Mycorrhizal Symbioses

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We study mutualistic mycorrhizal associations between specific soil fungi and plant roots, namely arbuscular mycorrhiza, ectomycorrhiza and ericoid mycorrhiza. We also focus on interactions between various types of mycorrhiza and their interactions with soil saprophytic fungi (link: http://www.ibot.cas.cz/mykosym/).

  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • Ericoid mycorrhiza
  • Ectomycorrhiza
  • Collections of mycorrhizal fungi

Arbuscular mycorrhiza

We study the significance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for growth and mineral nutrition of host plants in anthropogenic habitats as well as in natural plant communities. In the long term, we investigate interactions of arbuscular mycorrhiza and various stress factors of the soil environment. We especially focus on the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant survival in soils with high heavy metal content, either under natural conditions (serpentine substrates) or in areas affected by human activities. We study the effects of fungal symbionts on plant tolerance to heavy metals and we look for mechanisms of these effects (e.g., immobilization of heavy metals on fungal mycelium). Another study area focuses on local adaptations of plants to mycorrhizal symbiosis. We work specifically with the speciesAster amellus. We also study relations between the ploidy level of a host plant and its growth response to mycorrhizal colonization, i.e., if benefits from mycorrhizal symbiosis can differ for different cytotypes of the same plant species.

Ericoid mycorrhiza

Part of our department’s research is focused on the association of ericoid mycorrhizal fungi and plants from the family Ericaceae. Several studies have aimed to clarify the growth effects in ornamental ericaceous plants (especially the genus Rhododendron). We also deal with interactions of ericoid mycorrhizal fungi and DSE and saprotrophic fungi. One of our current research projects is to study the effect inoculation with symbiotic fungi has on blueberries in commercial plantations on the Atlantic coast in southern Spain.

Ectomycorrhiza

We study the spectrum of ectomycorrhizal fungi occurring on the roots of Norway spruce at model localities in the Bohemian Forest National Park. We also test the possibilities of using ectomycorrhizal fungi in phytoremediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals using plantations of fast-growing woody species.

Collections of mycorrhizal fungi

The Department of Mycorrhizal Symbioses maintains two collections of mycorrhizal fungistrains. The isolate collection of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from contaminated and degraded soils in the Czech Republic and other European countries is registered in the international database IBG (The International Bank for the Glomeromycota). The collection of ectomycorrhizal, ericoid mycorrhizal and DSE fungi contains strains of the most important and cultivable representatives of these groups isolated in the Czech Republic and other countries.