AimsAchnatherum sibiricum, a native grass species, is widely distributed in the steppe of Nei Mongol, China. In this study, three endophytic fungi, i.e., Neotyphodium sibiricum, N. gansuensis and Epichloë gansuensis, were isolated from A. sibiricum and examined the effect of the endophytes on the resistance of A. sibiricum to fungal disease.
Methods Three fungi: Curvularia lunata, Bipolaris sorokiniana and Cladosporium sp. were chosen as the target pathogens. Three experiments were carried out to evaluate the effects of endophytic inoculation of A. sibiricum on its pathogen resistance: 1) endophye in vitro, 2) inoculated detached leaves and 3) intact plants. They were infected with the three pathogens above mentioned, separately. Seven days later, inhibition rates, the number of lesions, lesion length and concentration of spores were measured.
Important findings The results showed that all endophytes significantly reduced the growth of pathogens fungi in vitro, and N. sibiricums had the strongest effect: its bacteriostasis rate to Curvularia lunata, B. sorokiniana and Cladosporium sp. were 47.8%, 40.1% and 39.4%, respectively. Culture filtration of three endophytes also effectively reduced pathogen spore germination, in which N. gansuensis showed the strongest impact. The germination rates of Curvularia lunata, B. sorokiniana and Cladosporium sp. were only 9.8%, 8.7% and 8.5%, respectively. Neotyphodium sibiricum and N. gansuensis could reduce lesion number and spore concentration of detached host leaves after the pathogens inoculation. Epichloë gansuensis reduced lesion number of detached leaves after inoculation with Curvularia lunata and Cladosporium sp., and decreased spore concentration of the pathogens fungi of Cladosporium sp. In the intact leaves, three endophytes reduced lesion number, lesion length and spore concentration as well after inoculation of the pathogens with those infected with N. sibiricum showing the strongest resistance, while with Epichloë gansuensis, the weakest resistance.