Endorhizal fungi are associated with most terrestrial plants. Class 2 endophytes confer habitat-specific tolerance. We are studying endophytes that confer tolerance to Oil Sands tailings (see news article). Mycorrhizal fungi are commensal partners with the roots of most land plants. In temperate and tropical regions, Mycorrhizal interactions increase plant vigor and disease resistance. In Arctic regions, mycorrhizae may be important since plant growth is limited by coldness and low nutrient soils. We are comparing mycorrhizal samples collected on Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere Islands with those in prairie plants.
Above image: fine endophyte arbuscles and intercellular/intracellular hyphae growing in a Ranculus nivalis root. The coil is the root vascular bundle. The image was captured by Xanthe Walker (summer, 2007). The plant was collected on Axel Heiberg Island by Susan Kaminskyj in July 2004, growing in 2.9 C soil. See image of the plant at Xanthe Walker, this site. The root was stained with lactofuschin, then imaged with confocal fluorescence microscopy. The scale bar in the lower left corner represents 20 micrometers.
Above image: tomato seedlings growing on tailing sands which are depleted for mineral nutrients during oil extraction. Unlike the plant on the left, the seedling on the right was inoculated with a strain of Trichoderma isolated from a weed that had naturally colonized this extreme environment.
The image below is a scanning electron micrograph of an ectomycorrhizal root of Dryas octopetala, belonging to the Rose family, that grows across the Canadian High Arctic, taken by Nate Allen. (Bar = 1 mm)
Fungi use localized growth to colonize their environment, producing tubular cells that grow only at the tips. We are using a variety of microscopical methods to study hyphal growth and fungal interactions with other organisms.
The image below shows living Aspergillus nidulans Golgi equivalents localized with ST-RFP (magenta), CopA-GFP (cyan), and a merged image (mauve). See Hubbard and Kaminskyj 2008 in Publications
The image below shows living Aspergillus nidulans hyphae stained with three fluorescent endomembrane dyes.