A fungal endophyte defensive symbiosis affects plant-nematode interactions in cotton
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© 2016, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Background and aims: Most investigations of fungi as nematode antagonists have focused on their interactions with nematodes in the soil. This study tested a foliar-isolated endophytic Phialemonium inflatum for its effects against the root-knot nematode as an endophyte in cotton using a seed treatment inoculation. Methods: Cotton seeds were inoculated with P. inflatum spore suspensions prior to planting. Nematode infection and reproduction were quantified at Day 12 and 6 weeks after nematode egg inoculation, respectively. To establish whether the observed negative effects on nematodes were due to P. inflatum in the soil or as an endophyte in the plant, we also applied a soil fungicide treatment at the seedling stage to kill the fungi outside the plant. Results: Persistent suppression of nematode penetration and galling, as well as subsequent reproduction, were observed in endophyte-treated plants independent of fungicide treatment, consistent with an endophytic mode of nematode suppression; and these negative effects did not depend on the concentration of fungal inoculum used to treat to the seed. Conclusions: Our study highlights a novel role for P. inflatum as part of a plant-fungal defensive symbiosis in cotton, as well as the need for a broader understanding of endophyte-plant-nematode ecological interactions.
author list (cited authors)
Zhou, W., Wheeler, T. A., Starr, J. L., Valencia, C. U., & Sword, G. A.