, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 127-135

The promoting role of an isolate of dark-septate fungus on its host plant Saussurea involucrata Kar. et Kir.

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A dark-septate endophytic (DSE) fungus EF-37 was isolated from the roots of Saussurea involucrata Kar. et Kir., an endangered Chinese medicinal plant. The molecular identification of the fungus was based on internal transcribed spacer regions and the result showed that EF-37 was congeneric to Mycocentrospora. This study was conducted to clarify the influence of the root endophyte EF-37 on the host plant S. involucrata using material grown in a sterile culture bottle. After cultivation for 40 days, fungal hyphae were found to be branching repeatedly and forming “hyphae nets” in the epidermal layers. Significant differences were detected between the study groups in plant dry weight, plant height, root dry weight, shoot dry weight, and the number of hair root tips. There was a positive effect of endophyte EF-37 on plant root development, with results showing that cortical cells dissolved and formed aerate structures. There was a positive effect of endophyte EF-37 on plant growth, but chlorophyll fluorescence analysis showed that there were no significant differences between the study groups. In addition, analysis of the chemical composition of seedlings showed that the level of rutin was higher in plants cultivated with the EF-37 fungus compared to the controls. This study helps to establish a basis for germplasm conservation and for further investigation of the interaction between dark-septate fungi and this alpine plant.

Li-qin Wu and Ya-li Lv contributed equally to this work.