Highly diversified fungi are associated with the achlorophyllous orchid Gastrodia flavilabella

Tsunglin Liu, Ching Min Li, Yue Lun Han, Tzen Yuh Chiang, Yu Chung Chiang, Huang Mo Sung

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mycoheterotrophic orchids are achlorophyllous plants that obtain carbon and nutrients from their mycorrhizal fungi. They often show strong preferential association with certain fungi and may obtain nutrients from surrounding photosynthetic plants through ectomycorrhizal fungi. Gastrodia is a large genus of mycoheterotrophic orchids in Asia, but Gastrodia species' association with fungi has not been well studied. We asked two questions: (1) whether certain fungi were preferentially associated with G. flavilabella, which is an orchid in Taiwan and (2) whether fungal associations of G. flavilabella were affected by the composition of fungi in the environment. Results: Using next-generation sequencing, we studied the fungal communities in the tubers of Gastrodia flavilabella and the surrounding soil. We found (1) highly diversified fungi in the G. flavilabella tubers, (2) that Mycena species were the predominant fungi in the tubers but minor in the surrounding soil, and (3) the fungal communities in the G. flavilabella tubers were clearly distinct from those in the surrounding soil. We also found that the fungal composition in soil can change quickly with distance. Conclusions: G. flavilabella was associated with many more fungi than previously thought. Among the fungi in the tuber of G. flavilabella, Mycena species were predominant, different from the previous finding that adult G. elata depends on Armillaria species for nutritional supply. Moreover, the preferential fungus association of G. flavilabella was not significantly influenced by the composition of fungi in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number185
JournalBMC genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics

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