BioEnergy Research

, Volume 2, Issue 1–2, pp 51–58 | Cite as

The Mycorrhizal Fungus, Sebacina vermifera, Enhances Seed Germination and Biomass Production in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L)

  • Sita R. Ghimire
  • Nikki D. Charlton
  • Kelly D. Craven
Article

Abstract

Seed dormancy and slow seedling establishment are two major concerns in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) production, often resulting in a poor stand with reduced productivity. Studies were conducted to investigate the stability of artificial associations between switchgrass and the ectomycorrhizal fungus, Sebacina vermifera, and to evaluate the potential benefits of this novel association in seed germination and biomass production. All six strains of S. vermifera tested had a high frequency of colonization on switchgrass roots of a synthetic cultivar NF/GA-993. The positive effects of the associations were reflected in plant height, root length, and biomass production. Inoculated plants produced as much as 75%, 113%, and 18% more shoot biomass than un-inoculated control plants in the first, second, and third harvest, respectively, with no consequent reduction in root biomass. Further, culture filtrates from some strains of S. vermifera increased seed germination in the switchgrass cultivar Kanlow by 52% over the control (p < 0.05). This study illustrates the great potential of microbial associations to increase biomass production and productivity of switchgrass.

Keywords

Bioenergy crop Ectomycorrhizae Symbiosis 

Abbreviations

AMF

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

FGP

Final germination percentage

ha

Hectare, 10,000 m2

Mg

Megagram, 1,000 kg

MYP

Malt extract, yeast extract, peptone

PBS

Phosphate buffer saline

References

  1. 1.
    Abbot LR, Robson AD (1984) The effect of VA mycorrhiza on plant growth. In: Powell CL, Bagyari DJ (eds) Mycorrhizae. CRC, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, pp 113–130Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aiken GE, Springer TL (1995) Seed size distribution, germination, and emergence of 6 switchgrass cultivars. J Range Manag 48:455–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barazani O, Benderoth M, Groten K, Kuhlemeier C, Baldwin IT (2005) Piriformospora indica and Sebacina vermifera increase growth performance at the expense of herbivore resistance in Nicotiana attenuata. Oecologia 146:234–243PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Barazani O, Von Dahl CC, Baldwin IT (2007) Sebacina vermifera promotes the growth and fitness of Nicotiana attenuata by inhibiting ethylene signaling. Plant Physiol 144:1223–1232PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bouton JH (2007) Molecular breeding of switchgrass for use as a biofuel crop. Curr Opin Genet Dev 17:553–558PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bouton JH (2008) Improvement of switchgrass as a bioenergy crop. In: Vermerris W (ed) Genetic improvement of bioenergy crops. Springer Science and Business MediaGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brejda JJ, Moser LE, Vogel KP (1998) Evaluation of switchgrass rhizosphere microflora for enhancing seedling yield and nutrient uptake. Agron J 90:753–758Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Clark RB (2002) Differences among mycorrhizal fungi for mineral uptake per root length of switchgrass grown in acidic soil. J Plant Nutr 25:1753–1772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clark RB, Zobel RW, Zeto SK (1999) Effects of mycorrhizal fungus isolates on mineral acquisition by Panicum virgatum in acidic soil. Mycorrhiza 9:167–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cox G, Sanders FE, Wild JA (1975) Ultrastructural evidence relating to host-endophyte transfer in vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza. In: Sander FE, Mosse B, Tinker PB (eds) Endomycorrhizas. Academic, New York, USA, pp 297–312Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Deshmukh S, Hueckelhoven R, Schaefer P, Imani J, Sharma M, Weiss M et al (2006) The root endophytic fungus Piriformospora indica requires host cell death for proliferation during mutualistic symbiosis with barley. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103:18450–18457PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Diop TA, Plenchette C, Strullu DG (1994) Dual axenic culture of sheared-root inocula of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with tomato roots. Mycorrhiza 5:17–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Epplin FM (1996) Cost to produce and deliver switchgrass biomass to an ethanol-conversion facility in the Southern Plains of the United States. Biomass Bioenergy 11:459–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Evers GW, Butler TW (2000) Switchgrass establishment on coarse plain soil. In: Proceedings of American Forage Glassland Council, Madison, WI, USA. Anerican Forage Grassland Council, pp 150-154Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Harley JL, Smith SE (1983) Mycorrhizal symbiosis. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hartnett DC, Wilson GWT (1999) Mycorrhizae influence plant community structure and diversity in tallgrass prairie. Ecology 80:1187–1195Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hintz RL, Harmoney KR, Moore KJ, George JR, Brummer EC (1998) Establishment of switchgrass and big bluestem in corn with atrazine. Agron J 90:591–596Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Knapp AD (2000) An overview of seed dormancy in native warm-season grasses. In: Anderson BE and Moore KJ (eds) Native warm-season grasses: research trend and issues. Crop Science Society of America, Madison, WI, vol CSSA Special Pub. No. 30, pp 107-122Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Martin AR, Moomaw RS, Vogel KP (1982) Warm-season grass establishment with atrazine. Agron J 74:916–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Moser LE, Vogel KP (1995) Switchgrass, big blue stem, and Indian grass. In: Barnes RF, Miller DA, Nelson CJ (eds) Forage, an introduction to grassland agriculture, Ames, vol 1. Iowa State University Press, Iowa, USA, pp 409–420Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mullen RE, Kassel PC, Bailey TB, Knapp AD (1985) Seed dormancy and germination of switchgrass from different row spacing and nitrogen levels. J App Seed Prod 3:28–33Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Newman EI, Reddell P (1987) The distribution of mycorrhizas among families of vascular plants. New Phytol 106:745–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Panciera MT, Jung GA, Sharp WC (1987) Switchgrass seedling growth and cultivar dormency: potential effects on establishment. In: Forage and Grassland Conference, Lexington, KY, USA, pp 244-248Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Parrish DJ, Fike JH (2005) The biology and agronomy of switchgrass for biofuels. Crit Rev Plant Sci 24:423–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Perlack RD, Wright LL, Turhollow AF, Graham RL, Stokes BJ, Erbach DC (2005) Biomas as a feed stock for a bioenergy and bioproduct industry: the technical feasibility of a billion-ton annual supply, pp Available on line at http://wwww.eere.energy.gov/boimass pdf/final_billionton_vision_report2.pdf
  26. 26.
    Pham GH, Singh A, Malla R, Kumari R, Prasad R, Sachdev M, et al (2004) Interaction of Piriformospora indica with diverse microorganisms and plants. Plant Surface Microbiology 237-265Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    SAS Institute Inc. (2002-2003) SAS 9.1, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Selosse MA, Bauer R, Moyersoen B (2002) Basal hymenomycetes belonging to the Sebacinaceae are ectomycorrhizal on temperate deciduous trees. New Phytol 155:183–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Serfling A, Wirsel SGR, Lind V, Deising HB (2007) Performance of the biocontrol fungus Piriformospora indica on wheat under greenhouse and field conditions. Phytopathology 97:523–531PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Singh A, Sharma J, Rexer KH, Varma A (2000) Plant productivity determinants beyond minerals, water and light: Piriformospora indica - a revolutionary plant growth promoting fungus. Curr Sci 79:1548–1554Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Taylor J, Harrier LA (2003) Beneficial influences of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on the micropropagation of woody and fruit trees. Micropropag Woody Trees Fruits 75:129–150Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Trappe JM (1987) Phylogenetic and ecological aspect of mycotrophy in the angiosperm from an evolutionary standpoint. In: Safir GR (ed) Ecophysiology of VA Mycorrhizal Plants. CRC, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, pp 5–25Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Varma A, Franken P (1997) The properties of the fungus, Piriformospora indica. European Patent Office, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Varma A, Verma S, Sudha SN, Butehorn B, Franken P (1999) Piriformospora indica, a cultivable plant-growth-promoting root endophyte. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:2741–2744PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Verma RK, Arya ID (1998) Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal isolates and organic manure on growth and mycorrhization of micropropagated Dendrocalamus asper plantlets and on spore production in their rhizosphere. Mycorrhiza 8:113–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Vogel KP (1996) Energy production from forages (or American agriculture - back to the future). J Soil Water Conserv 51:137–139Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Vogel KP, Burson BL (2004) Breeding and genetics. In: Moser LE, Sollenberger L, Burson B (eds) Warm season grasses. ASA-CSSA-SSSA, Madison, WI, pp 51–96Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Vogel KP, Brejda JJ, Walters DT, Buxton DR (2002) Switchgrass biomass production in the Midwest USA: harvest and nitrogen management. Agron J 94:413–420Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Waller F, Mukherjee K, Deshmukh SD, Achatz B, Sharma M, Schaefer P et al (2008) Systemic and local modulation of plant responses by Piriformospora indica and related Sebacinales species. J Plant Physiol 165:60–70PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Warcup JH (1988) Mycorrhizal associations of isolates of Sebacina vermifera. New Phytol 110:227–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Weiss M, Selosse MA, Rexer KH, Urban A, Oberwinkler F (2004) Sebacinales: a hitherto overlooked cosm of heterobasidiomycetes with a broad mycorrhizal potential. Mycol Res 108:1003–1010PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Zarnstorff ME, Keys RD, Chamblee DS (1994) Growth-regulator and seed storage effects on switchgrass germination. Agron J 86:667–672Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sita R. Ghimire
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nikki D. Charlton
    • 1
  • Kelly D. Craven
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Biology DivisionThe Samuel Roberts Noble FoundationArdmoreUSA
  2. 2.Bioenergy Science Center (BESC)Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

Personalised recommendations