2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Evaluating the Conditions for Inoculation of the Forage Grass Bouteloua gracilis (Blue Grama) by Dark Septate Endophytic Fungi
Anna E. Esfeld
Prof. Zhong Ma, Faculty Mentor

Dark Septate Fungal Endophytes (DSEs) have been recognized as important components in plant communities, particularly those in stressful environments. We hypothesized that DSEs help increase stress tolerance of host plants. As a first step toward evaluating functional/physiological roles of plant root associated DSEs, we attempted to assess conditions for successful colonization of Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) by DSE. Seedlings were grown in the presence or absence of fungi, with or without phosphorus fertilization, and under either drought stress or normal watering condition. After eight weeks, plants were harvested and the roots analyzed to determine inoculation. Roots of plants grown under the double stress of drought and no phosphate had the most extensive colonization. No DSE colonization was found under control conditions. We did not detect significant changes in plant biomass, possibly due to short growth period. Future study with extended growth might allow better evaluation of the role of DSE.

Keywords: Fungi, Plants, Symbiotic Relationship, stress tolerance, drought stress, phosphate stress

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 10-4
Location: PML
Time: 4:15

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