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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #289243

Research Project: Control of Toxic Endophytic Fungi with Bacterial Endophytes and Regulation of Bacterial Metabolites for Novel Uses in Food Safety

Location: Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research

Title: Additional hosts of Balansia-infected grasses in tall fescue pastures

item Bacon, Charles
item Hinton, Dorothy

Submitted to: SERA-IEG 8
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2012
Publication Date: 11/11/2012
Citation: Bacon, C.W., Hinton, D.M. 2012. Additional hosts of Balansia-infected grasses in tall fescue pastures. SERA-IEG 8. November 11, 2012. Lexington, Kentucky.

Interpretive Summary: Abstract - no summary required.

Technical Abstract: In an effort to determine the host range of ergot alkaloid producing Balansia endophyte-infected weed grass species in pastures that might confound toxicity symptoms of cattle on tall fescue pastures during periods of drought and poor growing conditions of tall fescue. We report that two new weed grasses species have been discovered in pastures monitored for 20 plus years, including reseeding of pastures with tall fescue. The initial weed grass species was smut grass (Sporobolus poiretii) infected with B. epichloe that was completely replaced in time by B. epichloe infections on new weed grass host species in newly established tall fescue pastures including lacegrass (Eragrostis capillaris), and big top lovegrass (Eragrostis hirsuta). Further, molecular analyses using a rep-PCR method indicated that while validated as B. epichloe (synonym B. kunzei) using morphological descriptions, these fungi actually consisted of at least two cryptic species. However, they do all have the potential to produce ergot alkaloids and are grazed heavily during periods of stress and tall fescue grass reduction. These results suggest host jumping is responsible for migration of Balansia species from smut grasses to the new hosts.