Truffles, as hypogeous, ectomycorrhizal fungi, have no means to actively discharge spores into the environment and thus depend on mycophagists for spore dispersal. After consumption of fruiting bodies by animals and passage through the digestive tract, the spores are released in faecal pellets. Recently, in the Abruzzo region (Italy), Hystrix cristata has been spotted inside private truffières, but its role in spore dispersal has never been investigated. Here, we report our research on the occurrence of Tuber aestivum spores in porcupine's faecal contents in a truffière in L'Aquila, Italy, where a H. cristata specimen was photographed. The spores were isolated from faeces by using a suspension of 0.7 M ZnSO4. We also verified degradation and disfiguration of the digested spores' reticular ornamentation compared to that of fresh spores from ascomata collected inside the truffière, through measurements performed by scanning electron microscopy. A few truffle spores had germinated within the faeces.

Crested porcupines (Hystrix cristata): mycophagist spore dispersers of the ectomycorrhizal truffle Tuber aestivum

Ori, Francesca
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Leonardi, Marco
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Iotti, Mirco
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Pacioni, Giovanni
Membro del Collaboration Group
2018-01-01

Abstract

Truffles, as hypogeous, ectomycorrhizal fungi, have no means to actively discharge spores into the environment and thus depend on mycophagists for spore dispersal. After consumption of fruiting bodies by animals and passage through the digestive tract, the spores are released in faecal pellets. Recently, in the Abruzzo region (Italy), Hystrix cristata has been spotted inside private truffières, but its role in spore dispersal has never been investigated. Here, we report our research on the occurrence of Tuber aestivum spores in porcupine's faecal contents in a truffière in L'Aquila, Italy, where a H. cristata specimen was photographed. The spores were isolated from faeces by using a suspension of 0.7 M ZnSO4. We also verified degradation and disfiguration of the digested spores' reticular ornamentation compared to that of fresh spores from ascomata collected inside the truffière, through measurements performed by scanning electron microscopy. A few truffle spores had germinated within the faeces.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/130649
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