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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Forage and Range Research

2009 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
Identification of unique drought and salt tolerant fine-leaf fescue germplasm (FLG) genotypes exceptional with agronomic performance is unique to the FRRL. The study of these in plant community interactions to identify interactions that maximize FLG performance in mixed species growing environments is critical to developing multi-use fine-leafed grasses to diversify pasture grasses. These genotypes may be inhabited by endophytes which enhance the ability of a plant to deter abiotic (i.e., heat, water, and salt) and biotic (insect and disease) stresses. Unique heat, drought- and salt-tolerant FLG genotypes are being identified, characterized, and their agronomic performance are being evaluated in replicated and unreplicated monoculture and plant communities (plot establishment in 2008 and 2009). A survey of turf (e.g., Festuca and Poa) and rangeland (e.g., Agropyron, Bromus, Leymus) has led to the isolation, identification, and culture of Neotyphodium and Epichloe endophytes. These cultures are now being examined cytologically and chemically (e.g., loline) products to determine whether they possess attributes that would enhance turf and rangeland plants through bio-protection mechanisms. In addition, techniques are being developed for the transfer of endophytes from one plant to another. ADODR monitoring is done via e-mail.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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