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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Translocation and accumulation of organic and inorganic nitrogen in wood resources colonized by the mycelial cord systems of the decay fungus Hypholoma fasciculare Philpott, Timothy James


Translocation of nitrogen (N) through mycelial cords of wood decay fungi is thought to be the mechanism responsible for the observed increase in absolute N content in woody debris over time. This research evaluates the ability of the mycelial cords of the wood ¹⁵decay fungus Hypholoma fasciculare to translocate and accumulate labeled organic (¹⁵N-glycine, N Douglas-fir litter) and inorganic N (¹⁵NH₄⁺, ¹⁵NO₃⁻) in its wood substrate. Each N form was supplied separately to the growing fronts of mycelial cords established over 67 days from wood blocks (Douglas-fir) in soil microcosms. Three sampling occasions (days 6, 18 and 30 after N addition) were used to identify trends in ¹⁵N transfer and total N accumulation. Wood blocks inoculated with Hypholoma fasciculare assimilated significantly more ¹⁵N than uninoculated blocks for all ¹⁵N treatments on at least one sampling occasion. After 73 days of incubation (day 6 sampling occasion), inoculated wood blocks increased in absolute N content by 211% relative to uninoculated control blocks, but 80% of this accumulated N was lost after 97 days of incubation (day 30 sampling occasion). The small amount of ¹⁵N that was transferred contrasted with the large increase in total N, suggesting that the site of N transfer was largely from the soil underneath wood blocks rather than at the site of ¹⁵N injection. The precipitous decline in absolute N content was attributed to visible indications of mycelial senescence. This research demonstrates that the mycelial cords of Hypoloma fasciculare are capable of translocating ¹⁵N into a wood substrate and can also greatly increase the absolute N content of wood blocks. The results are discussed in the context of fungal ecology as well as woody debris management.

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