Endophyte Effect on Drought Tolerance in Diverse Festuca Species
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) drought survival is generally enhanced in high-temperature environments when infested with the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum Glenn, Bacon, Price and Hanlin. Our group has concentrated on identifying water relations traits of the vegetative tiller base, mostly in plants from the cv. “Kentucky-31” (West, 1994). Studies on more diverse relatives of tall fescue are underway to (1) investigate whether detached-leaf conductance can serve as a screening tool for drought-stress-enhancing endophytes and (2) determine relative importance of tiller-base desiccation tolerance vs. desiccation postponement as a mode for endophyte-enhanced drought survival of the host.
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