Submitted to: International Neotyphodium Grass Interactions
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 27, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Microbial germplasm in the form of Neotyphodium fungal endophytes that infect grass seed stored in germplasm repositories worldwide may be a valuable source of new and diverse genetic materials for grass improvement programs and basic research. These fungi confer resistance in grasses to several insect pests and have proven important in the development of pest-resistant grasses for turf and forage grass markets. Indeed, many commercial seed companies develop and market grass seed infected with endophytes for enhances tolerance to insect pests. This review corrects a deficiency in our understanding of the incidence of endophytic fungi in public seed banks by summarizing the results of surveys for Neotyphodium endophytes. Grass collections stored by the USDA- ARS seed bank at Pullman, Washington have been the subject of most of the surveys conducted by American and foreign scientists in both the public and private sector. This review is important because it underscores the importance of the Pullman collection as a source Neotyphodium germplasm for research and development. Moreover, it significantly expands the information base on ednophyte incidence in public seed banks worldwide, thereby identifying potential sources of Neotyphodium fungi for use in turf and forage grass improvement programs.
Technical Abstract: Surveys of seed bank collections and grasses in managed and unmanaged habitats for Neotyphodium fungal endophytes are critical for expanding the information base on the taxonomy, life cycle and reproduction of endophytes, braodening our knowledge of the ecology and evolution of grass-endophyte associations, identifying natural hosts, and pinpointing sources of diverse endophytes to develop new endophyte- grass combinations for tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Although seed in public germplasm repositories might be expected to supply diverse Neotyphodium fungi for research and grass improvement programs, surveys have revealed a relatively low incidence of Neotyphodium endophtes in grass accessions stored in seed banks. This review details progress in recording the presence and diversity of these endophytes in seed bank collections and efforts to collect diverse endophytes in wild host plants for addition to seed repositories. Additional information is presented on our current awareness of Neotyphodium infection frequencies in grasses in managed and unmanaged habitats worldwide.