Anatomy of the inner mantle layer

Mantle preparations should be done according to the descriptions published by Agerer (1991): Methods in Microbiology 23: 25-73. A Normarski interference contrast microscope (DIC) is most convenient to examine the mantles, since it allows to focus different mantle layers consecutively, without interference from hyphal layers laying beneath or above the focused level (A). One part of mantle pieces should be oriented with the outer side up, another part with the inner side up. Only very dark mantles, or mantles covered by a lot of strongly light reflecting crystals or soil particles need to be sectioned; these sections can be made as thick tangential sections (it is enough to halve the mantle) with the aid of a cryotome. It is necessary to always apply the highest magnification (1000×); only for discerning patterns of hyphal arrangement, lower magnifications should be used (400×). The application of a well adjusted microscope is self-evident.

With some experience, it is easy to distinguish between inner mantle and outer mantle surface. Hints for an inner mantle surface: concave side or/and plectenchymatous structure or/and root cell wall remnants (B).Hints for an outer mantle surface are a convex side or/and pseudoparenchymatous structure or/and soil particles or/and crystals or/and emanating elements or/and dark cell walls.