Ekblad A, Nasholm T
Determination of chitin in fungi and mycorrhizal roots by an improved HPLC analysis of glucosamine
Plant and Soil: 1996 178:29-35
A method to measure chitin content in fungi and ectomycorrhizal roots with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was developed. Measurements of fluorescence of 9-fluorenylmethylchloroformate (FMOC-Cl) derivatives of glucosamine were made on acid hydrolysates of pure chitin, chitin-root mixtures and fungal-root mixtures. The method was applied on 5 isolates of ectomycorrhizal fungi, and ectomycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal Finns sylvestris roots. Interference from amino acids was removed by pre-treatment of samples with 0.2 N NaOH. This pre-treatment did not reduce the recovery of chitin, nor did plant material affect the recovery of chitin. The HPLC method was compared with a colorimetric chitin-method by measurements on root-fungal mixtures, with known fungal content. The HPLC method gave estimates of fungal biomass which were equal to the expected while the colorimetric method showed values significantly (p<0.001) lower than the expected. The present chitin method offers a sensitive and specific tool for the quantification of chitin in fungi and in ectomycorrhizal roots.
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