Ferns, which are usually colonizing different environments and their roots frequently present mycorrhization, have two adult stages in their life cycle, the sporophytic and the gametophytic phase. This paper describes the experimental mycorrhizal association between Pteris vittata leptosporangiate fern and a strain of Glomus intraradices during the life cycle of the fern, from spore germination to the development of a mature sporophyte. The aim of this study was to compare the colonization pattern of in vitro cultures of G. intraradices along the fern life cycle with those found in nature. For this, mature spores were obtained from fertile P. vittata fronds growing in walls of Buenos Aires city, Argentina. Roots were stained and observed under the light microscope for arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization. Approximately, 75 fern spores were cultured in each pot filled with a sterile substrate and G. intraradices (BAFC N° 51.331) as inoculum on the surface. After germination took place, samples were taken every 15 days until the fern cycle was completed. In order to determine colonization dynamics each sample was observed under optical and confocal microscope after staining. Gametophyte was classified as Adiantum type. Male and female gametangia were limited to the lower face, mycorrhizal colonization started when they were differentiated and took place through the rhizoids. Spores and vesicles were not found in this cycle stage. Paris-type mycorrhizal colonization was established in the midrib and in the embrionary foot. It was colonized by external mycelium. When the first root was developed soil inoculum colonized de novo this structure and Arum-type colonization was observed. This study proves that the type of colonization is determined by the structure of the host, not by the fungus. Both the gametophyte and embryo foot have determined growth and Paris-type colonization, while, sporophyte roots have undetermined growth and Arum-type colonization. The structures found in vitro cultures were highly similar to those found under natural conditions. Rev. Biol. Trop. 60 (2): 857-865. Epub 2012 June 01.Key words: Pteris vittata, Glomus intraradices, Pteridophyta-gametophyte-sporophyte, Arum colonization, Paris colonization.Over 90% of terrestrial plant groups have some type of symbiosis with soil fungi, and/or some mycorrhizal form. During the Devonic period, the first plants with roots appeared on land, the ferns belonging to Pteridophyta, Filicales groups, still exist today. They are widely distributed, particularly in tropical environments, and many of them have roots colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) (Brundrett 2002). Fern species with fine roots and long absorbent hairs sometimes limit mycorrhizal colonization. This facultative association is considered to be a feature of more evolved ferns (Fernandez et al. 2010). Cairney (2000 and Brundrett (2002) suggested that mycorrhizal symbiosis probably enabled plants to colonize land, conferring advantages such as increased fitness and resistance ...
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