Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 771–788 | Cite as

Biocontrol potential of endophytes harbored in Radula marginata (liverwort) from the New Zealand ecosystem

  • Parijat Kusari
  • Souvik Kusari
  • Michael Spiteller
  • Oliver KayserEmail author
Original Paper


Radula marginata and Cannabis sativa L. are two phylogenetically unrelated plant species containing structurally similar secondary metabolites like cannabinoids. The major objective of our work was the isolation, identification, biocontrol efficacies, biofilm forming potential and anti-biofilm ability of endophytic microbial community of the liverwort R. marginata, as compared to bacterial endophytic isolates harbored in C. sativa plants. A total of 15 endophytic fungal and 4 endophytic bacterial isolates were identified, including the presence of a bacterial endosymbiont within an endophytic fungal isolate. The endosymbiont was visible only when the fungus containing it was challenged with two phytopathogens Botrytis cinerea and Trichothecium roseum, highlighting a tripartite microbe–microbe interaction and biocontrol potency of endophytes under biotic stress. We also observed sixteen types of endophytic fungal-pathogen and twelve types of endophytic bacterial-pathogen interactions coupled to varying degree of growth inhibitions of either the pathogen or endophyte or both. This showed the magnitude of biocontrol efficacies of endophytes in aiding plant fitness benefits under different media (environmental) conditions. Additionally, it was ecologically noteworthy to find the presence of similar endophytic bacterial genera in both Radula and Cannabis plants, which exhibited similar functional traits like biofilm formation and general anti-biofilm activities. Thus far, our work underlines the biocontrol potency and defensive functional traits (in terms of antagonism and biofilm formation) of endophytes harbored in liverwort R. marginata as compared to the endophytic community of phylogenetically unrelated but phytochemically similar plant C. sativa.


Radula marginata Cannabis sativa Endophytic bacteria Endophytic fungi Phytopathogens Antagonism Biofilm formation 



This research was funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German Federal State North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and TU Dortmund by a scholarship to P. K. from the CLIB-Graduate Cluster Industrial Biotechnology. S. K. and M. S. are thankful to the German Research Foundation (DFG). We are thankful to Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (Bundesinstituts für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte, BfArM), Bonn, Germany for granting us the necessary permissions for working with Cannabis plants (BtM number 458 49 89). We are also very thankful to the Auckland Council, New Zealand Government for allowing us to bioprospect Radula plants.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parijat Kusari
    • 1
  • Souvik Kusari
    • 2
  • Michael Spiteller
    • 2
  • Oliver Kayser
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Chair of Technical Biochemistry, Department of Biochemical and Chemical EngineeringTU DortmundDortmundGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Environmental Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Chemical BiologyInstitute of Environmental Research (INFU), TU DortmundDortmundGermany

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