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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2016 Dec;92(12). pii: fiw194. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Fungal endophytes for sustainable crop production.

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Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Sylviusweg 72, 2333 BE Leiden, the Netherlands
Grasslanz Technology Limited, PB 11008, Palmerston North, 4442, New Zealand.
Forage Science, AgResearch Limited, PB 11008, Palmerston North, 4442, New Zealand.


This minireview highlights the importance of endophytic fungi for sustainable agriculture and horticulture production. Fungal endophytes play a key role in habitat adaptation of plants resulting in improved plant performance and plant protection against biotic and abiotic stresses. They encode a vast variety of novel secondary metabolites including volatile organic compounds. In addition to protecting plants against pathogens and pests, selected fungal endophytes have been used to remove animal toxicities associated with fungal endophytes in temperate grasses, to create corn and rice plants that are tolerant to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses, and for improved management of post-harvest control. We argue that practices used in plant breeding, seed treatments and agriculture, often caused by poor knowledge of the importance of fungal endophytes, are among the reasons for the loss of fungal endophyte diversity in domesticated plants and also accounts for the reduced effectiveness of some endophyte strains to confer plant benefits. We provide recommendations on how to mitigate against these negative impacts in modern agriculture.


Epichlo√ę; anti-insect compounds; anti-microbial compounds; biotic and abiotic stresses; commercialization; endophytic fungi; fungal secondary metabolites; habitat adaptation; plant adaption; volatile organic compounds

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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