- (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
- (2) Molecular Ecology, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Agroscope Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zürich, Switzerland
- (3) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
The entomopathogenic fungal Metarhizium anisopliae lineage harbors cryptic diversity and was recently split into several species. Metarhizium spp. are frequently isolated from soil environments, but the abundance and distribution of the separate species in local communities is still largely unknown. Entomopathogenic isolates of Metarhizium spp. were obtained from 32 bulked soil samples of a single agroecosystem in Denmark using Tenebrio molitor as bait insect. To assess the Metarhizium community in soil from the agricultural field and surrounding hedgerow, 123 isolates were identified by sequence analysis of 5' end of elongation factor 1-α and their genotypic diversity characterized by multilocus simple sequence repeat (SSR) typing. Metarhizium brunneum was most frequent (78.8%) followed by M. robertsii (14.6%), while M. majus and M. flavoviride were infrequent (3.3% each) revealing co-occurrence of at least four Metarhizium species in the soil of the same agroecosystem. Based on SSR fragment length analysis five genotypes of M. brunneum and six genotypes of M. robertsii were identified among the isolates. A single genotype within M. brunneum predominated (72.3% of all genotypes) while the remaining genotypes of M. brunneum and M. robertsii were found at low frequencies throughout the investigated area indicating a diverse Metarhizium community. The results may indicate potentially favorable adaptations of the predominant M. brunneum genotype to the agricultural soil environment.