Diversity and Plant Growth-Promoting Effects of Fungal Endophytes Isolated from Salt-Tolerant Plants

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Nov 28;30(11):1680-1687. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2006.06050.


Fungal endophytes are symbiotic microorganisms that are often found in asymptomatic plants. This study describes the genetic diversity of the fungal endophytes isolated from the roots of plants sampled from the west coast of Korea. Five halophytic plant species, Limonium tetragonum, Suaeda australis, Suaeda maritima, Suaeda glauca Bunge, and Phragmites australis, were collected from a salt marsh in Gochang and used to isolate and identify culturable, root-associated endophytic fungi. The fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 was used as the DNA barcode for the classification of these specimens. In total, 156 isolates of the fungal strains were identified and categorized into 23 genera and two phyla (Ascomycota and Basidiomycota), with Dothideomycetes and Sordariomycetes as the predominant classes. The genus Alternaria accounted for the largest number of strains, followed by Cladosporium and Fusarium. The highest diversity index was obtained from the endophytic fungal group associated with the plant P. australis. Waito-C rice seedlings were treated with the fungal culture filtrates to analyze their plant growth-promoting capacity. A bioassay of the Sm-3-7-5 fungal strain isolated from S. maritima confirmed that it had the highest plant growth-promoting capacity. Molecular identification of the Sm-3-7-5 strain revealed that it belongs to Alternaria alternata and is a producer of gibberellins. These findings provided a fundamental basis for understanding the symbiotic interactions between plants and fungi.

Keywords: Halophytic plants; diversity; endophytic fungi; gibberellins; plant growth promotion; salt marsh.

MeSH terms

  • Alternaria
  • Ascomycota
  • Basidiomycota
  • Biodiversity
  • Chenopodiaceae
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Endophytes / classification
  • Endophytes / genetics
  • Endophytes / isolation & purification*
  • Endophytes / physiology*
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Fungi / physiology
  • Gibberellins
  • Oryza
  • Plant Development*
  • Plant Roots / microbiology
  • Plumbaginaceae
  • Republic of Korea
  • Salt-Tolerant Plants / microbiology*
  • Symbiosis


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Gibberellins

Supplementary concepts

  • Alternaria alternata