Project Title

Identification and Comparison of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Soil Microbiomes Between American Chestnuts and Surrounding Hardwoods

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Paula Jackson

There are no human subjects in this study.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Background/Questions/Methods

Around 1904, with the introduction of the Chinese chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica,) native American chestnut (Castanea dentata) populations were decimated. In this study our goal is to provide new insights into mechanisms that may enhance blight resistance in Castanea dentata through the understanding of the interaction between the trees and their surrounding soil microbiome.

For this we 1) used oral history and maps generated by the American Chestnut Foundation to document/confirm the location of individual specimens in our vicinity; 2) among individuals found, documented healthy versus blight infected individuals; 3) characterized putative differences in the soil microbiome with distance to infected and non-infected individuals, as well as between chestnut plants and hardwood neighbors.

Soil samples were collected 1m north of the base of each chestnut tree and 1m from the base of one hardwood tree within 5m of the chestnut and aligned to one cardinal direction. DNA was extracted from soil samples using commercially available DNA extraction kits and outsourced for sequencing. DNA analysis is organized by genus in order to identify the species of fungi and other microbes that are present in each sample.

Results/Conclusions

Thirty-two individual wild American chestnut trees have been identified for potential study, with a subset of six mature trees used for this study. Soil DNA extractions are currently underway to examine metagenomics of taxa present in the soil microbiome around the mature Castanea dentata trees. Of the thirty-two known trees, one is currently known to be infected with Cryphonectria parasitica.

Keywords

Microbiome

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Cryphonectria parasitica

Chinese chestnut blight

Castanea dentata

American chestnut

Metagenomics

Project Type

Event

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Identification and Comparison of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Soil Microbiomes Between American Chestnuts and Surrounding Hardwoods

Background/Questions/Methods

Around 1904, with the introduction of the Chinese chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica,) native American chestnut (Castanea dentata) populations were decimated. In this study our goal is to provide new insights into mechanisms that may enhance blight resistance in Castanea dentata through the understanding of the interaction between the trees and their surrounding soil microbiome.

For this we 1) used oral history and maps generated by the American Chestnut Foundation to document/confirm the location of individual specimens in our vicinity; 2) among individuals found, documented healthy versus blight infected individuals; 3) characterized putative differences in the soil microbiome with distance to infected and non-infected individuals, as well as between chestnut plants and hardwood neighbors.

Soil samples were collected 1m north of the base of each chestnut tree and 1m from the base of one hardwood tree within 5m of the chestnut and aligned to one cardinal direction. DNA was extracted from soil samples using commercially available DNA extraction kits and outsourced for sequencing. DNA analysis is organized by genus in order to identify the species of fungi and other microbes that are present in each sample.

Results/Conclusions

Thirty-two individual wild American chestnut trees have been identified for potential study, with a subset of six mature trees used for this study. Soil DNA extractions are currently underway to examine metagenomics of taxa present in the soil microbiome around the mature Castanea dentata trees. Of the thirty-two known trees, one is currently known to be infected with Cryphonectria parasitica.

Keywords

Microbiome

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Cryphonectria parasitica

Chinese chestnut blight

Castanea dentata

American chestnut

Metagenomics