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Acta Prataculturae Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 192-206.DOI: 10.11686/cyxb2020601

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Effects of Epichloë endophytic fungi on the germination of grass seeds

Chun-jie LI1,2(), Ming-xiao LANG1, Zhen-jiang CHEN1, Tai-xiang CHEN1, Jing LIU1, Yuan-yuan JIN1, Xue-kai WEI1   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Grassland Agricultural Ecosystem of Lanzhou University,Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation,Engineering Research Center of Grassland Agriculture and Education Ministry of Lanzhou University,Western Grassland Technology Innovation Center of Gansu Province,College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology,Lanzhou 730020,China
    2.Grassland Research Center of National Forestry and Grassland Administration,Chinese Academy of Forestry,Beijing 100091,China
  • Received:2020-12-30 Revised:2021-05-17 Online:2022-03-20 Published:2022-01-15
  • Contact: Chun-jie LI


Seeds are the most basic output generated in agricultural production, and seed germination plays a decisive role in survival and reproduction of species. However, the process of germination is easily affected by various environment factors. It is significant to improve germination quality in stress condition for grass planting. The establishment of the symbiotic relationship in plants with Epichlo? endophyte confers on the symbiosis higher germination rate, stronger resistance to adverse stress, and leads to the occupation of a more favourable ecological niche in the phytocoenosis. Hence, the Epichlo? endophyte has a wide impact in ecosystems, with ramifications affecting animals, plants and microorganisms within an ecosystem. This study reviewed the influence of Epichlo? endophyte infection on host grass germination under different habitats and treatments, with a focus on roles of endophyte in seed germination under natural growth conditions and various stress conditions, including allelopathy. It was found that endophyte promotes seed germination under both natural and stress conditions. However, germination responses were inconsistent in the presence of allelopathic effects. Additionally, the negative effect on germination caused by extended storage time is alleviated by endophyte infection. Building on previous research, we should prioritize research into the physiology and biochemistry of promoting germination and enhancing resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in grass infected with Epichlo? endophyte, and on defining the mechanism whereby endophyte fungi influence germination, in order to identify excellent endophytic strains and explore novel ways of creating grass germplasm resources using Epichlo? endophyte.

Key words: grass endophyte, seed germination, biotic and abiotic stress, allelopathy