2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Use of Scanning Electron Microscopy to Study Dark Septate Endophytic Fungi in Wheat (Triticum aestivum) Roots
Daniel L. Creagor
Dr. George L. Shinn, Faculty Mentor

Dark septate fungi are common but poorly known inhabitants of the roots of grasses in water-stressed environments. The goals of this study were to determine which root tissues are infected by the fungi and to describe the physical relationship between fungal hyphae and host cells. The roots were preserved in 2.5% buffered gluteraldehyde and 2% buffered osmium tetroxide. Two methods were used to expose the endophytes for viewing: 1) manual dissection, using a razor blade to cleave roots and 2) cryo-fracturing, using liquid N2 to freeze fracture the roots. Dark septate fungi were found in the innermost tissues of the plant roots, mostly in the xylem. Xylem acts as vascular tissue for the plant, carrying water and dissolved minerals. My observations suggest that dark septate fungi play a role in the acquisition or transport of water and inorganic nutrients by the host plants.

Keywords: Endophytic Fungi, Ultrastructure, SEM, Wheat Roots

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 2-10
Location: GEO
Time: 3:30

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