|Weig, A R; Peršoh, D; Werner, S; Betzlbacher, A; Rambold, G: Diagnostic assessment of mycodiversity in environmental samples by fungal ITS1 rDNA length polymorphism., Mycological Progress, 12, 719-725 (2013), doi:10.1007/s11557-012-0883-1|
Biodiversity research rapidly progresses due to the continuous improvement of high-throughput analysis platforms, which facilitate detailed analyses of the composition and architecture of microbial communities in various environmental niches. In the fields of applied forestry and agriculture, microbial communities are also increasingly considered, because they are involved in various kinds of biotic interactions with plants and therefore have high diagnostic value for assessing the health status of plants and soils. While in-depth identification of microbial species in environmental samples is currently achieved by next generation sequencing or microarray techniques, profiling of whole microbial communities can be accomplished via less labor-intensive approaches. We modified the protocol for automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) by targeting length polymorphism of the fungal ITS1 rRNA gene for a rapid diagnostic assessment of fungal community composition and surveyed its application spectrum. The approach allowed for spatial and temporal differentiation among fungal assemblages in soil samples and different plant species, and is therefore particularly useful for environmental screening and monitoring projects. Standardized experimental conditions permit the cumulative gathering of data, for instance during long-term projects.