27 Scopus citations


Heavy metals have been shown to negatively affect the growth of ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECMF). In addition, ECMF have been shown to accumulate heavy metals and to protect host trees from metal toxicity. However, specific literature on the interactions between ECMF and mercury (Hg) is scant. This paper describes the responses of ECMF to Hg in axenic culture conditions. Six ECMF from an area with no known history of direct Hg contamination were tested to determine their sensitivity to Hg. ECMF were incubated on solid medium amended with Hg (0-50μM) as HgCl2 and the effect of Hg on radial growth was determined. The effect of preexposure cultivation on Hg sensitivity, the effect of Hg on biomass production, and the ability to accumulate Hg were determined for four of the ECMF. At micromolar concentrations, Hg significantly inhibited the radial growth rate of ECMF. This inhibitory effect was lessened in some ECMF when an established colony was exposed to Hg. Mercury lowered biomass production by some ECMF, and ECMF accumulate Hg from a solid growth substrate in direct relation to the amount of Hg added to the media. Possible implications for ECMF communities in Hg-impacted areas are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalFungal Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Infectious Diseases


  • Heavy metal
  • Hyperaccumulation
  • Trajectory


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