Atmospheric spores of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are a potential source of contamination when mycorrhizal studies are performed in the greenhouse, and techniques for minimizing such contamination have rarely been tested. We grew loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) from seed in a greenhouse and inside a high-efficiency particulate air-filtered chamber (HFC) constructed within the same greenhouse. Seedlings were germinated in seven different sand- or soil-based and artificially based growth media. Seedlings grown in the HFC had fewer mycorrhizal short roots than those grown in the open greenhouse atmosphere. Furthermore, the proportion of seedlings from the HFC that were completely non-mycorrhizal was higher than that of seedlings from the greenhouse atmosphere. Seedlings grown in sterilized, artificially based growth media (>50% peat moss, vermiculite, and/or perlite by volume) had fewer mycorrhizal short roots than those grown in sand- or soil-based media. The HFC described here can minimize undesirable ECM colonization of host seedlings in greenhouse bioassays. In addition, the number of non-mycorrhizal seedlings can be maximized when the HFC is used in combination with artificially based growth media.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Plant Science