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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Research Project #415058


Location: Forage and Range Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop technologies associated with grass endophytes and evaluate plant germplasm for use in irrigated and non-irrigated pastures.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Collaborative experiments will be designed and implemented either in the laboratory or the open-field depending upon the objective. Laboratory experiments will be conducted jointly in Logan, Utah, and Christchurch, New Zealand, where endophytes are involved. Where experiments involve the construction of molecular markers for endophyte identification, work will be performed in Logan, Utah. Germplasm evaluation of Cropmark grass accessions (cultivars and lines) will be conducted in the Great Basin region of Utah in appropriate growing areas. This research will attempt to: 1) Develop methodologies associated with the identification and mutagenesis of endophytes and their inoculation into grass plants; 2) Construct markers which will identify specific endophytes; and 3) Evaluate agronomic performance of endophyte and non-endophyte containing Cropmark grass germplasm along with appropriate + or - endophyte containing control germplasm.

3. Progress Report:
Plant endophytes are found in a wide array of grasses. Some endophytes produce toxic effects to livestock and wildlife, while some have demonstrated agricultural benefits such as increased resistance to insect, nematodes, and fungi to the host plant through the production of alkaloids compounds. One of the purposes of this project is to develop strain-specific DNA marker that will be useful in identifying specific strains of beneficial Neotyphodium endophytes. Obtaining high quality Neotyphodium DNA at suitable quantities has proven difficult. During FY-12, a technician at the FRRL working on the project accepted an invitation to visit a endophyte research laboratory at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation for a week of on the job training in endophyte culture, DNA extraction and PCR technique. It is anticipated that knowledge gained during this training will facilitate the successful culture, DNA extraction, and DNA amplification and sequencing which will advance the objective of developing strain-specific PCR primers/assays.

4. Accomplishments