Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (8): 793-805.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0001

• Reviews •     Next Articles

Advances in research of Achnatherum inebrians-Epichloë endophyte symbionts

LI Chun-Jie,YAO Xiang,NAN Zhi-Biao()   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems; Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University; Lanzhou 730020, China
  • Received:2018-01-02 Online:2018-08-20 Published:2018-12-07
  • Contact: LI Chun-Jie ORCID:0000-0002-3287-2140 NAN Zhi-Biao
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Basic Research Program of China(2014CB138702);the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University of China(IRT_17R50);the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(lzujbky-2017-kb10);the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(lzujbky-2018-kb10);the 111 Project(B12002);the Natural Science Foundation of China(31372366)


Research on drunken horse grass (Achnatherum inebrians)-endophytic fungi (Epichloë gansuensis, E. inebrians) represented an important area of endophyte research in China. Compared with tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)-endophyte (E. coenophiala) in the United States and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)-endophyte (E. festucae var. lolii) in New Zealand, A. inebrians-endophyte research in China is becoming a leading branch of endophyte research. The studies of A. inebrians-endophyte symbionts over the past three decades were reviewed, mainly including endophyte distribution, detection methods, infection rate, fungal diversity, stress tolerances of drought, cold, salt, heavy metal, pest, disease and their mechanisms, secondary metabolite of alkaloids, feeding experiments and its ecological functions etc. Research reveals that drunken horse grass itself has no toxicity, the grazed animals will be intoxicated if the grass bears infection by Epichloë endophytes and produces ergot alkaloids. Future research will focus on E. gansuensis and E. inebrians genomics and endophyte functions. In other research we will create new grass cultivars that are 1) sanitized of the endophyte and non-toxic, 2) utilizing novel endophytes that deter birds feeding and 3) utilizing endophytes that are modified to produce novel fungicides, pesticides or medicines.

Key words: grasses, fungal endophytes, future perspectives, toxic grass control and utilization, bio-control