Spermidine and the ectomycorrhizal fungus Pisolithus tinctorius synergistically induce maturation of Scots pine embryogenic cultures.
ABSTRACT Exogenous spermidine (Spd) and the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungus Pisolithus tinctorius (Pers.) Coker and Couch had a synergistic effect on the maturation of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) somatic embryos. Induced maturation was expressed as a higher number of cell masses able to form embryos and a greater number of embryos formed per cell mass. In contrast, treatment with P. tinctorius alone on the hormone-free medium resulted in the lowest embryo-forming capacity. Retarded proliferation growth appeared to be required for maturation, but did not explain the synergistic effect of the fungus and exogenous Spd. Simultaneous treatment did not result in lower concentrations of putrescine (Put), Spd or spermine (Spm) in the embryogenic cell masses relative to the separate treatments. Our study is the first report on the use of a specific ECM fungus to induce maturation of somatic embryos, and it indicates that P. tinctorius was able to modify the maturation media in a way that, together with exogenous Spd, positively affected embryogenic cultures of Scots pine. Our study also shows that it is possible to enhance plant development other than root formation by using specific ECM fungi.