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Abstract Detail

Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Azad, Kumkum [1], Kaminskyj, Susan [1], Basinger, James [2].

Fungal endophytes: a strategy for mitigating salt and drought stress on plant growth.

Drought and soil salinization are critical abiotic stressors for plant growth that affect crop yield worldwide, particularly through catastrophic weather events and prolonged irrigation practices. Some fungi grow symbiotically inside plants as endophytes, and specifically Class 2 fungal endophytes include strains that may promote plant growth and survival under abiotic stress like salt or drought. Strains of Class 2 endophytes isolated from plants growing in natural highly saline sites (saline lake shores) and human-impacted saline sites (potash tailings areas) in Saskatchewan were used to colonize axenic tomato seeds. Seedlings were grown in double-decker Magenta boxes, so that water quantity and salinity could be controlled precisely to assess endophyte-related plant growth performance under salt and drought stress. Endophyte-colonized plants had higher root (20-50%) and shoot (10-20%) biomass, following 10-15 days salt stress (300 mM, 400 mM, and 500 mM NaCl) treatments than non-colonized plants. This indicated a fitness benefit due to endophyte colonization. Plants were also assessed for drought tolerance by depriving plants of water for 10-11 days. Endophyte-colonized plants had 30-40 % increased root and 10-20 % increased shoot biomass compared to control plants, consistent with 10-25 % better water use efficiency due to colonization. Increased photosynthetic efficacy (10-20 % in 11 d drought stress, and 20-40% in 500 mM NaCl stress) and decreased reactive oxygen species generation (20-40 % in both salt and drought stress) in endophyte-colonized plants were also correlated to endophyte-conferred abiotic stress tolerance. These findings indicate that class 2 endophytes isolated from plants naturally growing on saline soils have high potential to improve agriculture on dry or saline soils.

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Related Links:
Fungal endophytes confer abiotic stress tolerance

1 - University Of Saskatchewan, Department Of Biology, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E2, Canada
2 - University Of Saskatchewan, Dept Of Geological Sciences, 114 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E2, Canada


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 51
Location: Salon 5/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: 51010
Abstract ID:872
Candidate for Awards:CSPB President's Award for Best Student Presentation,CSPB Travel Bursary

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