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Mycorrhizal inoculation, endophytic colonization, and allelopathic potential of Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) roots Biggs, Laura Ellen


Mycorrhizas are ubiquitous symbiotic relationships between soil-inhabiting fungi and the roots of over 90 % of terrestrial plants. Mycorrhizal colonization of Wollemia nobilis Jones, Hill & Allen (Wollemi Pine), a newly discovered and extremely rare conifer native to southeastern Australia, is a largely unexplored subject. The objectives of this work were: (1) to assess mycorrhizal colonization of Wollemi Pines following fungal inoculation, (2) to identify endophytic fungi associated with Wollemi Pine roots growing in the field and in horticultural substrates, and (3) to evaluate the allelopathic activity of Wollemi Pines. In both laboratory and field environments, juvenile trees were inoculated with several different arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and one fungus known to form ectendomycorrhizas on members of the Pinaceae. Mycorrhizal colonization was not evident in any of the inoculated plants; however, endophytic fungal structures formed by Cylindrocarpon pauciseptatum and Phialocephala fortinii were consistently present in the roots of plants grown in the field or in growth chambers. Preliminary evidence of allelopathic chemical production by Wollemi Pines was also found. Extracts of soil used to grow Wollemi Pines suppressed germination of leek seeds but not sorghum seeds. This thesis presents the results from the first mycorrhizal fungal inoculation of Wollemi Pine, the first identification of fungal endophytes colonizing Wollemi Pine roots, and the first evidence for the production of allelopathic chemicals by Wollemi Pine.

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