DOI: 10.3390/jof10030212 ISSN: 2309-608X

Diversity, Community Structure, and Antagonism of Endophytic Fungi from Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Mongolian Pine Trees

Ninghong Ren, Lei Wang, Chongjuan You
  • Plant Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology (medical)

Diplodia tip blight, caused by Diplodia sapinea (=Sphaeropsis sapinea), are widely distributed in Honghuaerji, Inner Mongolia, China, causing severe damage on natural Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica). D. sapinea is an endophyte that becomes pathogenic under conditions of drought, hail damage, or temperature-associated stress. The role of the endophytic community inhabiting different pine tissues in the expression of disease is still unknown. In this study, the diversity and community structure of endophytic fungi among asymptomatic and symptomatic Mongolian pine were detected using culture-based isolation and high-throughput sequencing (HTS), and the potential antagonistic endophytes against D. sapinea were also screened. The results indicated that 198 and 235 strains of endophytic fungi were isolated from different tissues of symptomatic and asymptomatic Mongolian pine, respectively. D. sapinea was the most common endophyte isolated from the current-year needles and shoots of symptomatic trees, and Diplodia was also the most common in the HTS data. There were no significant differences in the endophytic fungal species richness among asymptomatic and symptomatic trees, but there were differences observed within specific sampled tissues. The ANOSIM analysis confirmed that the endophytic fungi community structure significantly differed between sampling tissues among symptomatic and asymptomatic Mongolian pine. Furthermore, the antagonism study revealed Penicillium fructuariae-cellae with the ability to inhibit the growth of D. sapinea in vitro, and the potential performance of this fungus, acting as biological control agent, was evaluated under greenhouse. Our findings can pave the way to a better understanding of the interactions between D. sapinea, other endophytic fungi and their hosts, and provide helpful information for more efficient disease management strategies.

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