A Symbiotic Approach to Generating Stress Tolerant Crops. Academic Article uri icon


  • Studies were undertaken to determine if fungal endophytes from plants in stressful habitats could be commercialized to generate climate resilient crop plants. Fungal endophytes were isolated from weedy rice plants and grasses from South Korea and the USA, respectively. Endophytes (Curvularia brachyspora and Fusarium asiaticum) from weedy rice plants from high salt or drought stressed habitats in South Korea conferred salt and drought stress tolerance to weedy rice and commercial varieties reflective of the habitats from which they were isolated. Fungal endophytes isolated from grasses in arid habitats of the USA were identified as Trichoderma harzianum and conferred drought and heat stress tolerance to monocots and eudicots. Two T. harzianum isolates were exposed to UV mutagenesis to derive strains resistant to fungicides in seed treatment plant protection packages. Three strains that collectively had resistance to commonly used fungicides were used for field testing. The three-strain mixture (ThSM3a) increased crop yields proportionally to the level of stress plants experienced with average yields up to 52% under high and 3-5% in low stress conditions. This study demonstrates fungal endophytes can be developed as viable commercial tools for rapidly generating climate resilient crops to enhance agricultural sustainability.

published proceedings

  • Microorganisms

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Redman, R. S., Kim, Y. O., Cho, S., Mercer, M., Rienstra, M., Manglona, R., ... Rodriguez, R. J.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Redman, Regina S||Kim, Yong Ok||Cho, Sang||Mercer, Malia||Rienstra, Melissa||Manglona, Ryan||Biaggi, Taylor||Zhou, Xin-Gen||Chilvers, Martin||Gray, Zachery||Rodriguez, Russell J

publication date

  • April 2021