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Effect of Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) on Morchella (morels) in vitro

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Leighton, Elizabeth
Volk, Thomas
Oct 24, 2017
Introduced organisms; Garlic mustard (Plant); Morels
Previous research has shown that Alliaria petiolata, garlic mustard, successfully invaded northern North America through allelopathy and suppressing arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi. The research suggests that allelochemicals suppress mycorrhizal fungi's spore viability and infectivity. Morels (Morchella) are popular edible fungi that live in habitats threatened by A. petiolata, even though their interaction with this plant has not been studied. This study explored whether Morchella is suppressed by A. petiolata by examining the effects of aqueous root, shoot, and whole plant A. petiolata leachates on Morchella cultures in vitro. Four traits appeared in response to treatment: deformation, line, pigment, and zone of inhibition. The root leachate elicited higher expression of pigment, line, and zone of inhibition traits. Morchella elata s.l. cultures were more affected by A. petiolata root leachate. Morchella americana cultures were likely to express line and pigment traits, but not the zone of inhibition trait. The in vitro conditions may not perfectly simulate soil conditions, but the responses in this experiment could occur in nature. Further research is needed to understand whether these traits appear in nature and whether these traits are associated with suppression in nature.
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