Mycobiomes of sympatric Amorphophallus albispathus (Araceae) and Camellia sinensis (Theaceae) – a case study reveals clear tissue preferences and differences in diversity and composition

Martin Unterseher, Samantha C. Karunarathna, García Roberto Cruz, Nikki H. Dagamac, Mathilde B. Dahl, Serena E. Dool, Michelle Galla, Lina Herbst, R. Henrik Nilsson, Sébastien J. Puechmaille, Caroline Schöner, Michael Schöner, Abu B. Siddique, Annette Teltewskoi, Kristina Wicke, David G. Würth, Christian Wurzbacher, Kevin D. Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Multiple biotic and abiotic parameters influence the dynamics of individual fungal species and entire communities. Major drivers for tropical plant endophytes are undoubtedly seasonality, local habitat conditions and biogeography. However, host specialization and tissue preferences also contribute to the structuring of endophytic mycobiomes. To elucidate such specializations and preferences, we sampled two commercially important, unrelated plant species, Amorphophallus albispathus and Camellia sinensis (tea plant) simultaneously at close proximity. The mycobiomes of different tissue types were assessed with high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer DNA region. Both plants hosted different fungal communities and varied in α- and β-diversity, despite their neighboring occurrence. However, the fungal assemblages of Amorphophallus leaflets shared taxa with the mycobiomes of tea leaves, thereby suggesting common driving forces for leaf-inhabiting fungi irrespective of host plant identity. The mycobiome composition and diversity of tea leaves was clearly driven by leaf age. We suggest that the very youngest tea leaves are colonized by stochastic processes, while mycobiomes of old leaves are rather similar as the result of progressive succession. The biodiversity of fungi associated with A. albispathus was characterized by a large number of unclassified OTUs (at genus and species level) and by tissue-specific composition.This study is the first cultivation-independent high-throughput assessment of fungal biodiversity of an Amorphophallus species, and additionally expands the knowledge base on fungi associated with tea plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-500
Number of pages12
JournalMycological Progress
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Camellia
  • High-throughput metabarcoding
  • Host specialization
  • Mycobiome diversity
  • Tissue preferences of endophytes


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