Research Highlights: Researchers provide first insight into arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi found in desert habitats


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Researchers provide first insight into arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi found in desert habitats

  • Deserts fill a significant part of the Earth’s surface and continue to expand due to an effect of climate change.
  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza is a type of fungal root in which the symbiont fungus enters the root’s cortical cell of a vascular plant.[1]
  • Mutualistic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi may be important in plant roots, particularly in drought stressed environment such as deserts.
  • Researchers provide the characterization of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi found in several desert locations around the world.
  • Researchers utilized Illumina MiSeq and sequenced arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal DNA from desert soil samples in six different geographic locations.
  • Researchers recorded 50 arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal phylotypes.
  • Phylotype is an overall similarity used to classify several organisms into a group according to their phenetic relationship.[2]
  • The most common family found was Glomeraceae.
  • Researchers also found Claroideoglomeraceae, Diversisporaceae, and Acaulosporaceae however, their frequencies and abundances were low.
  • The site with the highest diversity was in Israel’s Negev desert with 35 virtual taxa.
  • Sites in Argentina, Australia, Kazakhstan and United States were found to have lower richness and diversity.
  • Saudi Arabian desert which has harsh conditions yielded low richness with only three Diversispora virtual taxa.
  • Although the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal taxa recorded in the desert were mostly ecological and geographically widespread, four out of the six sites constitute more desert-associated taxa than expected at random.
  • The phylogenetic/taxonomic composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities was mostly driven by pH.
  • Data show that desert arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community composition and diversity are dependent on ecological conditions.
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community composition can also be related to harsh abiotic conditions.
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal virtual taxa present in soil samples were phylogenetically clustered than the global taxon pool.
  • Results suggest that desert fungal collections may have been shaped by non-random assembly mechanisms, particularly habitat filtering.
  • Climate change may likely trigger desertification in many locations and more research on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi should be performed to understand ecosystem change.

Sources:

Vasar, M., Davison, J., Sepp, S. K., Öpik, M., Moora, M., Koorem, K., Meng, Y., Oja, J., Akhmetzhanova, A. A., Al-Quraishy, S., Onipchenko, V. G., Cantero, J. J., Glassman, S. I., Hozzein, W. N., & Zobel, M. (2021). Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities in the Soils of Desert Habitats. Microorganisms, 9(2), 229. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020229

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbuscular_mycorrhiza

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenetics


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