Identity, diversity, and molecular phylogeny of the endophytic mycobiota in the roots of rare wild rice (Oryza granulate) from a nature reserve in Yunnan, China.
ABSTRACT Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is, on a global scale, one of the most important food crops. Although endophytic fungi and bacteria associated with rice have been investigated, little is known about the endophytic fungi of wild rice (Oryza granulate) in China. Here we studied the root endophytic mycobiota residing in roots of O. granulate by the use of an integrated approach consisting of microscopy, cultivation, ecological indices, and direct PCR. Microscopy confirmed the ubiquitousness of dark septate endophytes (DSEs) and sclerotium-like structures in root tissues. Isolations from 204 root segments from 15 wild rice plants yielded 58 isolates, for which 31 internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based genotypes were recorded. The best BLAST match indicated that 34.5% of all taxa encountered may represent hitherto undescribed species. Most of the fungi were isolated with a very low frequency. Calculation of ecological indices and estimation of taxon accumulation curves indicated a high diversity of fungal species. A culture-independent approach was also performed to analyze the endophytic fungal community. Three individual clone libraries were constructed. Using a threshold of 90% similarity, 35 potentially different sequences (phylotypes) were found among 186 positive clones. Phylogenetic analysis showed that frequently detected clones were classified as Basidiomycota, and 60.2% of total analyzed clones were affiliated with unknown taxa. Exophiala, Cladophialophora, Harpophora, Periconia macrospinosa, and the Ceratobasidium/Rhizoctonia complex may act as potential DSE groups. A comparison of the fungal communities characterized by the two approaches demonstrated distinctive fungal groups, and only a few taxa overlapped. Our findings indicate a complex and rich endophytic fungal consortium in wild rice roots, thus offering a potential bioresource for establishing a novel model of plant-fungal mutualistic interactions.