Fungal Endophytes Isolated from Elymus repens, a Wild Relative of Barley, Have Potential for Biological Control of Fusarium culmorum and Pyrenophora teres in Barley

Pathogens. 2022 Sep 25;11(10):1097. doi: 10.3390/pathogens11101097.


Twenty-four fungal endophytes, isolated from a wild relative of barley, Elymus repens, were screened in barley against an isolate of Fusarium culmorum and an isolate of Pyrenophora teres under controlled conditions. In all experiments, the endophytes were applied individually as seed dressings. Five endophytes could significantly reduce symptoms of Fusarium culmorum (Periconia macrospinosa E1 and E2, Epicoccum nigrum E4, Leptodontidium sp. E7 and Slopeiomyces cylindrosporus E18). In particular, treatment with Periconia macrospinosa E1 significantly reduced Fusarium symptoms on roots by 29-63% in two out of four experiments. Using, a gfp transformed isolate of P. macrospinosa E1, it was possible to show that the fungus was present on roots 14 days after sowing, coinciding with the disease scoring. To test for a potential systemic effect of the seed treatment, eight endophyte isolates were tested against the leaf pathogen Pyrenophora teres. Three isolates could significantly reduce symptoms of P. teres (Lasiosphaeriaceae sp. E10, Lindgomycetaceae sp. E13 and Leptodontidium sp. E16). Seed treatment with Lasiosphaeriaceae sp. E10 reduced net blotch leaf lesion coverage by 89%, in one out of three experiments. In conclusion, specific endophyte isolates exerted varying degrees of protection in the different experiments. Nevertheless, data suggest that endophytic strains from E. repens in a few cases are antagonistic against F. culmorum and P. teres, but otherwise remain neutral when introduced to a barley host in a controlled environment.

Keywords: Elymus repens; Fusarium culmorum; Periconia sp.; Pyrenophora teres; barley; biological control; endophyte.