Submitted to: International Symposium on Fungal Endophytes of Grasses
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 18, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Bioprospecting herein means the evaluation and/or acquisition of C3 wild grasses, in ex situ and in situ situations, harboring diverse strains of fungal endophytes (Epichloë/Neotyphodium complex) for ecological research and agronomic applications. To highlight this activity, this presentation reviews progress in locating diverse wild grass-endophyte symbiota (emphasis on fescues, cereal grass relatives, brome grass, wild timothy) in native habitats and in genebank accessions from seed of wild plants in Europe, North Africa, China, western and central Asia, Argentina, and the United States. Indeed, public and private sector researchers have found that having a large pool of ‘novel Neotyphodium strains’ available is vital for continued success in developing grass cultivars with enhanced pest defensive capabilities and persistence. Moreover, the inclusion of diverse grass-endophyte symbiota in ecological studies has increased understanding of the importance of endophyte infection to the structure and function of grass populations and communities. And with potential expansions of endophyte bioprospecting to the wild relatives of cereal grasses, this talk also summarizes current knowledge (published and unpublished data) of the overall effects of diverse grass-endophyte symbiota and their metabolites on the survival and population growth of globally important insect pests of wheat and barley, namely Hessian fly, Russian wheat aphid, bird cherry-oat aphid, rose-grass aphid, and cereal leaf beetle. This is indispensable information for considering the use of endophytes and their alkaloids to protect cereals against pests. Finally, this presentation draws attention to the need to look upon grass endophytes in their hosts as components of biodiversity, which like other types of genetic building material, must be conserved for research and development.
Technical Abstract: N/A