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Biomed Res Int. 2018 Dec 6;2018:7696831. doi: 10.1155/2018/7696831. eCollection 2018.

Endophytic Fungus Aspergillus japonicus Mediates Host Plant Growth under Normal and Heat Stress Conditions.

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Department of Botany, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan 23200, Pakistan.
Department of Agriculture, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan 23200, Pakistan.
Centre of Biotechnology and Microbiology, University of Peshawar, Pakistan.
School of Applied Biosciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Republic of Korea.


We have isolated an endophytic fungus with heat stress alleviation potential from wild plant Euphorbia indica L. The phylogenetic analysis and 18S rDNA sequence homology revealed that the designated isolate was Aspergillus japonicus EuR-26. Analysis of A. japonicus culture filtrate displayed higher concentrations of salicylic acid (SA), indoleacetic acid (IAA), flavonoids, and phenolics. Furthermore, A. japonicus association with soybean and sunflower had improved plant biomass and other growth features under high temperature stress (40°C) in comparison to endophyte-free plants. In fact, endophytic association mitigated heat stress by negotiating the activities of abscisic acid, catalase, and ascorbic acid oxidase in both soybean and sunflower. The nutritional quality (phenolic, flavonoids, soluble sugars, proteins, and lipids) of the A. japonicus-associated seedlings has also improved under heat stress in comparison to endophyte-free plants. From the results, it is concluded that A. japonicus can modulate host plants growth under heat stress and can be used as thermal stress alleviator in arid and semiarid regions of the globe (where mean summer temperature exceeds 40°C) to sustain agriculture.

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