Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #280629

Title: Fungal endophyte diversity in Sarracenia

item Glenn, Anthony - Tony
item BODRI, MICHAEL - North Georgia College And State University

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/2/2012
Publication Date: 3/13/2012
Citation: Glenn, A.E., Bodri, M.S. 2012. Fungal endophyte diversity in Sarracenia. PLoS One. 7(3):e32980.

Interpretive Summary: Pitcher plants are well known for their ability to attract, trap, and digest insects. These plants are found in wet or boggy undisturbed environments, and native populations are limited and threatened. Given their unique and fragile ecological environment, much remains unknown regarding the interactions between these plants and microbes, such as endophytic fungi, that may influence various facets of pitcher plant biology. This study represents the first assessment of fungal endophytes within pitcher plants of the genus Sarracenia. Four Sarracenia species were examined which have restricted distribution, and we report for the first time the existence of fungal endophytes within the leaf tissue. Twelve different fungi were isolated. Colletotrichum species were the dominant group of fungal endophytes isolated. Since endophytes are known to produce a large diversity of metabolites, we speculate on the possible roles these endophytes may play in the digestive processes and nutrient utilization of their host plants as well as possibly influencing the microbial diversity within the pitchers.

Technical Abstract: Fungal endophytes were isolated from four species of the carnivorous pitcher plant genus Sarracenia: S. minor, S. oreophila, S. purpurea, and S. psittacina. Twelve taxa of fungi, eight within the Ascomycota and four within the Basidiomycota, were identified based on PCR amplification and sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA (ITS rDNA) with taxonomic identity assigned using the NCBI nucleotide megablast search tool. Endophytes are known to produce a large number of metabolites, some of which may contribute to the protection and survival of the host. We speculate that endophyte-infected Sarracenia may benefit from their fungal associates by their influence on nutrient availability from within pitchers and, possibly, by directly influencing the biota within pitchers.