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Plant Physiol. 1990 Mar;92(3):726-32.

Effects of the Fungal Endophyte Acremonium coenophialum on Nitrogen Accumulation and Metabolism in Tall Fescue.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30603.


Infection by the fungal endophyte Acremonium coenophialum affected the accumulation of inorganic and organic N in leaf blades and leaf sheaths of KY 31 tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) grown under greenhouse conditions. Total soluble amino acid concentrations were increased in either the blade or sheath of the leaf from infected plants. A number of amino acids were significantly increased in the sheath, but only asparagine increased in the blade. Infection resulted in higher sheath NH(4) (+) concentrations, whereas NO(3) (-) concentrations decreased in both leaf parts. The effects on amino acid, NO(3) (-), and NH(4) (+) concentrations were dependent upon the level of N fertilization and were usually apparent only at the high rate (10 millimolar) of application. Administration of (14)CO(2) to the leaf blades increased the accumulation of (14)C in their amino acid fraction but not in the sheaths of infected plants. This may indicate that infection increased amino acid synthesis in the blade but that translocation to the sheath, which is the site of fungal colonization, was not affected. Glutamine synthetase activity was greater in leaf blades of infected plants at high and low N rates of fertilization, but nitrate reductase activity was not affected in either part of the leaf. Increased activities of glutamine synthetase together with the other observed changes in N accumulation and metabolism in endophyte-infected tall fescue suggest that NH(4) (+) reassimilation could also be affected in the leaf blade.

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