Endophytes from wild cereals protect wheat plants from drought by alteration of physiological responses of the plants to water stress

Eugenio Llorens, Or Sharon, Gemma Camañes, Pilar García-Agustín, Amir Sharon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Endophytes contribute to plant performance, especially under harsh conditions. We therefore hypothesized that wild plants have retained beneficial endophytes that are less abundant or not present in related crop plants. To test this hypothesis, we selected two endophytes that were found in Sharon goatgrass, an ancestor of wheat, and tested their effect on bread wheat. Both endophytes infected wheat and improved sustainability and performance under water-limited conditions. To determine how the endophytes modify plant development, we measured parameters of plant growth and physiological status and performed a comparative metabolomics analysis. Endophyte-treated wheat plants had reduced levels of stress damage markers and reduced accumulation of stress-adaptation metabolites. Metabolomics profiling revealed significant differences in the response to water stress of endophyte-treated plants compared with untreated plants. Our results demonstrate the potential of endophytes from wild plants for improvement of related crops and show that the beneficial effects of two endophytes are associated with alteration of physiological responses to water-limited conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3299-3312
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume21
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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