Mycological Progress

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 781–790 | Cite as

Endophytic fungal community in stems and leaves of plants from desert areas in China

  • Yue Sun
  • Qi WangEmail author
  • Xiaodong Lu
  • Izumi Okane
  • Makoto Kakishima
Original Article


Endophytic fungi are known to play important ecological roles in protecting plants from various abiotic and biotic stresses. Therefore, it is valuable to investigate the endophytic fungal community associated with plants distributed in harsh environments, such as deserts. Fungal communities in the stems and leaves of ten plant samples belonging to eight species were collected from a desert area in China and tested after plant surface sterilization. The fungal compositions were different among plants. Salsola collina, Suaeda salsa, and Coriospermum declinatum possessed the highest fungal richness. The colonization rates of these samples were high, exceeding 50% in eight of the samples. However, the fungal diversity of the samples was low when measured using Shannon’s index, Fisher’s α, and Simpson’s index. Alternaria alternata, A. franseriae, Fusarium solani, and a second Fusarium species were most frequently isolated from all samples. The diversity of isolated species was low in desert areas, although the colonization rate was relatively high. It was concluded that fungal communities associated with plants in deserts had low diversity, but a small number of species colonized various plants with a high colonization rate. The Jaccard, Sorensen, and Bray–Curtis similarity indices for the fungal communities were low between stems and leaves. This indicated that different fungal communities colonized these two tissues. Phoma pomorum and Phoma sp. showed tissue preferences.


Species richness Abundance Tissue specificity Alternaria alternata 



We thank Prof. Yuichi Kadota, Department of Botany of National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, for identification of plant samples.


  1. Arechavaleta M, Bacon CW, Hoveland CS, Radcliffe DE (1989) Effect of the tall fescue endophyte on plant response to environmental stress. Agron J 81:83–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold AE, Maynard Z, Gilbert GS, Coley PD, Kursar TA (2000) Are tropical fungal endophytes hyperdiverse? Ecol Lett 3:267–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bayman P, Angulo-Sandoval P, Báez-Ortiz Z, Lodge DJ (1998) Distribution and dispersal of Xylaria endophytes in two tree species in Puerto Rico. Mycol Res 102:944–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bettucci L, Saravay M (1993) Endophytic fungi of Eucalyptus globulus: a preliminary study. Mycol Res 97:679–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Betucci L, Alonso R (1997) A comparative study of fungal populations in healthy and symptomatic twigs of Eucalyptus grandis in Uruguay. Mycol Res 101:1060–1064CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Braun K, Romero J, Lidell C, Creamer R (2003) Production of swainsonine by fungal endophytes of locoweed. Mycol Res 107:980–988PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cannon PF, Simmons CM (2002) Diversity and host preference of leaf endophytic fungi in the Iwokrama forest reserve Guyana. Mycologia 94:210–220PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carroll FE, Müller E, Sutton BC (1977) Preliminary studies on the incidence of needle endophytes in some European conifers. Sydowia 29:87–103Google Scholar
  9. Collado J, Platas G, Gonzales I, Pelaéz F (1999) Geographical and seasonal influence on the distribution of fungal endophytes in Quercus ilex. New Phytol 143:525–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collado J, Platas G, Pelaez F (1996) Fungal endophytes in leaves, twigs, and bark of Quercus ilex from Central Spain. Nova Hedwigia 63:347–360Google Scholar
  11. Crabtree SL, Gessner RV (1982) Growth and nutrition of the salt marsh fungi Pleospora gaudefroyi and Camarosporium roumeguerii. Mycologia 74:640–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elamo P, Helander MJ, Saloniemi I, Neuvonen S (1999) Birch family and environmental conditions affect endophytic fungi in leaves. Oecologia 118:151–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ellis MB (1971) Dematiaceous Hyphomycetes. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  14. Faeth SH, Hammon KE (1997) Fungal endophytes in oak trees. I. Long-term patterns of abundance and associations with leafminers. Ecology 78:810–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fisher PJ, Petrini LE, Sutton BC, Petrini O (1995) A study of fungal endophytes in leaves, stems and roots of Gynoxis oleifolia Muchler (Compositae) from Ecuador. Nova Hedwigia 60:589–594Google Scholar
  16. Fisher PJ, Petrini O (1990) A comparative study of fungal endophytes in xylem and bark of Alnus species in England and Switzerland. Mycol Res 94:313–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fisher PJ, Petrini O (1992) Fungal saprobes and pathogens as endophyte of Rice (Oryza sativa L.). New Phytol 120:137–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fisher PJ, Petrini O, Webster J (1991) Aquatic hyphomycetes and other fungi in living aquatic and terrestrial roots of Alnus glutinosa. Mycol Res 95:543–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fisher PJ, Sutton BC, Petrini LE, Petrini O (1994) Fungal endophytes from Opuntia stricta: a first report. Nova Hedwigia 59:195–200Google Scholar
  20. Fröhlich J, Hyde KD, Petrini O (2000) Endophytic fungi associated with palms. Mycol Res 104:1202–1212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gond SK, Verma VC, Kumar A, Kumar V, Kharwar RN (2007) Study of endophtic fungal community from different parts of Aegle marmelos Correae (Rutaceae) from Varanasi (India). World J Microbiol Biotechnol 23:1371–1375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gregory PC (2004) Recovery from drought stress in lolium perenne (Poaceae): Are fungal endophytes detrimental? Am J Bot 91:1960–1968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Halmschlager E, Butin H, Donaubauer E (1993) Endophytische pilze in blättern und zweigen von Quercus pertraea. Eur J For Pathol 23:51–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hammon KE, Faeth SH (1992) Ecology of plant - herbivore communities: a fungal component? Nat Toxins 1:197–208PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoffman MT, Arnold AE (2008) Geographic locality and host identity shape fungi endophyte communities in cupressaceous trees. Mycol Res 112:31–344Google Scholar
  26. Kaneko R, Kakishima M, Tokumasu S (2003) The seasonal occurrence of endophytic fungus, Mycosphaerella buna, in Japanese beech, Fagus crenata. Mycoscience 44:277–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Katja B, Philipp F, Karl-Heinz K, Christina N, József F, Tobias H, Frank W, Ralph H, von Diter W, Beate A, Marina F, Helmut B (2005) The endophytic fungus Piriformospora indica reprograms barley to salt-stress tolerance, disease resistance, and higher yield. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:13386–13391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Koga H, Kimigakuhuro T, Tsukiboshi T, Uematsu T (1993) Incidence of endophytic fungi in perennial ryegrass in Japan. Ann Phytopathol Soc Jpn 59:180–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krings M, Taylor TN, Hass H, Kerp H, Dotzler N, Hermsen EJ (2007) Fungal endophytes in a 400-million-yr-old land plant: infection pathways, spatial distribution, and host responses. New Phytol 174:648–657PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leach M (1971) A practical guide to the effects of visible and ultraviolet light on fungi. Meth Microbiol 4:609–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Losos EC, Leigh EG Jr (2004) Tropical forest diversity and dynamism: findings from a large-scale plot network. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  32. Luginbuhl M, Müller E (1980) Endophytische Pilze den oberirdischen rganen von 4 gemeinsam an glechen Standorten achsenden Pflanzen (Buxus, Hedera, Ilex, Ruscus). Sydowia 33:185–209Google Scholar
  33. Muhsin TM, Booth T (1987) Fungi associated with halophytes of an inland salt marsh, Manitoba, Canada. Can J Bot 65:1137–1151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Muhsin TM, Zwain KH (1989) A fungal endophyte associated with desert parasitic plant. Kavaka 17:1–5Google Scholar
  35. Ou SH (1985) Rice diseases, 2nd edn. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, KewGoogle Scholar
  36. Peláez F, Collado J, Arenal F, Basilio A, Cabello A, DiezMatas MT, Garcia JB, Gonzalez del val A, Gonzalez V, Gorrochategui J, Hernandez P, Martin I, Platas G, Vicente F (1998) Endophytic fungi from plants living on gypsum soils as a source of secondary metabolites with antimicrobial activity. Mycol Res 102:755–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Petrini O (1991) Fungal endophytes of tree leaves. In: Andrews JH, Hirano SS (eds) Microbial ecology of leaves. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Petrini O, Carroll G (1981) Endophytic fungi in foliage of some Cupressaceae in Oregon. Can J Bot 59:629–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Petrini O, Fisher PJ (1986) Fungal endophytes in Salicornia perennis. Trans Br Mycol Soc 87:647–651CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Petrini O, Fisher PJ (1988) A comparative study of fungal endophytes in xylem and whole stems of Pinus sylvestris and Fagus sylvatica. Trans Br Mycol Soc 91:233–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Photita W, Lumyong S, Lumyong P, Hyde KD (2001) Endophytic fungi of wild banana (Musa acuminata) at Doi Suthep Pui National Park, in Thailand. Mycol Res 105:1508–1513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pirozynski KA, Malloch DW (1975) The origin of land plants: a matter of mycotrophism. Biosystems 6:153–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Redman RS, Seehan KB, Stout RG, Rodriquez RJ, Henson JM (2002) Thermotolerance generated by plant/fungal symbiosis. Science 298:1581PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rodrigues A, Bacci M, Mueller UG, Ortiz A, Pagnocca FC (2008) Microfungal ‘weeds’ in the leafcutter ant symbiosis. Microb Ecol 56:604–614PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rodrigues KF (1994) The foliar endophytes of the Amazonian palm Eutrepe oleracea. Mycologia 86:376–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rodrigues KF, Samuels GJ (1990) Preliminary study of endophytic fungi in tropical palm. Mycol Res 94:827–830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shearer JF (2002) The potential role of an endophytic fungus in the decline of stressed eurasian watermilfoil. J Aquat Plant Manag 40:76–78Google Scholar
  48. Siegel MR, Bush LP (1996) Defensive chemicals in grass-fungal endophyte associations. Recent Adv Phytochem 30:81–120Google Scholar
  49. Stone JK (1987) Initiation and development of latent infection by Rhabdocline parkeri on Douglas fir. Can J Bot 65:2614–2621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Suryanarayanan TS, Kumaresan V, Johnson JA (1998) Foliar fungal endophytes from two species of the mangrove Rhizophora. Can J Microbiol 44:1003–1006Google Scholar
  51. Suryanarayanan TS, Murali TS, Venkatesan G (2002) Occurrence and distribution of fungal endophytes in tropical forests across a rainfall gradient. Can J Bot 80:818–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Suryanarayanan TS, Venkatesan G, Murali TS (2003) Endophytic fungal communities in leaves of tropical forest trees: diversity and distribution patterns. Curr Sci 85:489–493Google Scholar
  53. Suryanarayanan TS, Wittlinger SK, Faeth SH (2005) Endophytic fungi associated with cacti in Arizona. Mycol Res 109:635–639PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Taylor TN, Taylor EL (2000) The rhynie chert ecosystem: a model for understanding fungal interactions. In: Bacon CW, White JF (eds) Microbial endophytes. Marcel Decker, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  55. Waller F, Achatz B, Baltruschat H, Fodor J, Becker K, Fischer M, Heier T, Hückelhoven R, Neumann C, Wettstein D, Franken P, Kogel K (2005) The endophytic fungus Piriformospora indica reprograms barley to salt-stress tolerance, disease resistance, and higher yield. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:13386–13391PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wennstrom A (1994) Systemic diseases on hosts with different growth patterns. Oikos 69:535–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Widler B, Müller E (1984) Untersuchungen über endophytische Pilze von Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Sprengel (Ericaceae). Bot Helv 94:307–337Google Scholar
  58. Wilson D (1993) Fungal endophytes: out of sight but should not be out of mind. Oikos 68:379–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wilson D (1995) Endophyte - the evolution of a term, and clarification of its use and definition. Oikos 73:274–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wilson D (2000) Ecology of woody plant endophytes. In: Bacon CW, White JF JR (eds) Microbial endophytes. Marcel Dekker, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yue Sun
    • 1
  • Qi Wang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xiaodong Lu
    • 3
  • Izumi Okane
    • 4
  • Makoto Kakishima
    • 5
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Engineering Research Center of Chinese Ministry of Education for Edible and Medicinal FungiJilin Agricultural UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Graduate School of Chinese Medicinal MaterialsJilin Agricultural UniversityChangchunChina
  4. 4.NITE Biological Resource Center (NBRC), Department of BiotechnologyNational Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE)KisarazuJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

Personalised recommendations