Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Just Accepted

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Shoot morphology and alkaloid content of Epichloë endophyte-Festuca sinensis associations

Pei Tian , Yu Kuang , Weihu Lin , Jianjun Wang , Zhibiao Nan

Abstract

The Chinese native cool-season perennial grass species-Festuca sinensis exhibits frequent asymptomatic infections with an asexual Epichloƫ fungal endophyte. Six Festuca sinensis ecotypes were collected in different geographical locations. Endophyte positive (E+) plants and corresponding endophyte free (E-) plants of these six ecotypes were identified and then measured for shoot morphological characteristics including plant height, tiller number and biomass. Significant difference due to different host ecotypes was observed in both E+ and E- plants. However, significant difference due to endophyte was only observed in one or two ecotypes. Concentration of endophyte-derived alkaloids and semi-quantitative endophyte colonization in E+ plants were also evaluated. All E+ plants produced both the lolitrem B and peramine alkaloids, and significant variation in alkaloid concentration due to host ecotypes or endophyte genotype was observed. Analysis of semi-quantitative endophyte colonization using qPCR revealed significant differences between each ecotype. This suggested that host ecotype had large impacts whereas the endophyte only had a minor impact. The results of this study suggested that endophyte, host ecotype and their complex interaction affected performance of Festuca sinensis ecotypes.

CP17231  Accepted 24 January 2018

© CSIRO 2018