Effects of Neotyphodium sp. Endophytes on Tall Fescue Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses

In this field experiment, conducted in cooperation with Dr. Chuck West of the University of Arkansas, we determine the effect of endophyte infection and summer dormancy trait on persistence of tall fescue in hot and humid (Arkansas) and hot and dry (Texas) environments in 2006 (Underwood et al., 2008).

Rationale

In summer-active tall fescue types, the Neotyphodium coenophialum fungal endophyte may increase host-plant persistence in hot and humid environments by triggering an array of biochemical processes in the host plants, leading to increased tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses when compared with non-infected plants (Malinowski and Belesky, 2000). A related N. coenophialum sp. endophyte has also been found in many summer-dormant accessions of tall fescue, yet its ecological role for the grass host is not well understood.

In this experiment, conducted in cooperation with Dr. Chuck West of the University of Arkansas, we determine the effect of endophyte infection and summer dormancy trait on persistence of tall fescue in hot and humid (Arkansas) and hot and dry (Texas) environments in 2006 (Underwood et al., 2008).

Objectives

1.   Determine effects of endophyte infection on expression of summer dormancy and survival in tall fescue.

2.   Determine relationships between biochemical protectants and drought survival in field-grown tall fescue as modulated by host summer-dormancy capacity.

Summary of Results

Guerber, C.A., J.L. Underwood, C.P. West, D.P. Malinowski, and B.C. Grigg. 2009. Biochemical responses to water deficit in summer-dormant and summer-active tall fescue. International Workshop on Summer Dormancy in Grasses. 6-8 April 2009. Ardmore , OK .

West, C.P., J.L. Underwood, D.P. Malinowski, and C.A. Guerber, and B.C. Grigg. 2009. Dormancy indices, growth stages, and forage quality of summer-dormant          and summer-active tall fescue. International Workshop on Summer Dormancy in Grasses. 6-8 April 2009. Ardmore, OK .

West, C.P., Underwood, J.L., and D. Malinowski. 2009. Trade-offs in growth, persistence, and quality of summer-active and summer-dormant tall fescue. In Proc. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Int. Annual Meeting. November 1-5, 2009. Pittsburgh, PA.

Funding Sources

Texas AgriLife Research (Texas PI)

USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center Agreement 6227-21310-008-38S (Arkansas PI).

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