3 years ago

Effect of an Epichloë endophyte on adaptability to water stress in Festuca sinensis

As water stress, including drought and waterlogging, can severely affect plant growth, this study investigated the effects of an endophyte from the genus Epichloë on two different ecotypes of Festuca sinensis grass under five soil water conditions in a controlled greenhouse experiment. Changes in F. sinensis plants grown with (E+) and without the endophyte (E−) were evaluated as they were subjected to different water treatments (20%, 35%, 50%, 65% and 80% relative saturation moisture content, RSMC). Growth parameters such as plant height, number of tillers, blade width, stem diameter, root length, total biomass, root-shoot ratio and relative water content were determined. The results showed that drought and waterlogging significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited the growth of F. sinensis. The presence of the endophyte significantly (P < 0.05) increased plant growth and root-shoot ratio under drought and waterlogged conditions. In addition, the plant height, number of tillers, blade width, stem diameter and total biomass in seedlings of both ecotypes reached the maximum at 65% RSMC, which suggests the optimal water condition. These findings also show that moderate drought (35% and 50% RSMC) could promote root growth of grass seedlings. Therefore, endophytic infections can result in enhanced host plant resistance to drought and waterlogged conditions.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S175450481730106X

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