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A Metabolomic Study of Epichloë Endophytes for Screening Antifungal Metabolites

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posted on 17.05.2022, 05:28 authored by K Fernando, Priyanka ReddyPriyanka Reddy, KM Guthridge, German SpangenbergGerman Spangenberg, Simone RochfortSimone Rochfort
Epichloë endophytes, fungal endosymbionts of Pooidae grasses, are commonly utilized in forage and turf industries because they produce beneficial metabolites that enhance resistance against environmental stressors such as insect feeding and disease caused by phytopathogen infection. In pastoral agriculture, phytopathogenic diseases impact both pasture quality and animal production. Recently, bioactive endophyte strains have been reported to secrete compounds that significantly inhibit the growth of phytopathogenic fungi in vitro. A screen of previously described Epichloë-produced antifeedant and toxic alkaloids determined that the antifungal bioactivity observed is not due to the production of these known metabolites, and so there is a need for methods to identify new bioactive metabolites. The process described here is applicable more generally for the identification of antifungals in new endophytes. This study aims to characterize the fungicidal potential of novel, ‘animal friendly’ Epichloë endophyte strains NEA12 and NEA23 that exhibit strong antifungal activity using an in vitro assay. Bioassay-guided fractionation, followed by metabolite analysis, identified 61 metabolites that, either singly or in combination, are responsible for the observed bioactivity. Analysis of the perennial ryegrass-endophyte symbiota confirmed that NEA12 and NEA23 produce the prospective antifungal metabolites in symbiotic association and thus are candidates for compounds that promote disease resistance in planta. The “known unknown” suite of antifungal metabolites identified in this study are potential biomarkers for the selection of strains that enhance pasture and turf production through better disease control.

Funding

The research was funded by Agriculture Victoria and DairyBio.

History

Publication Date

01/01/2022

Journal

Metabolites

Volume

12

Issue

1

Article Number

ARTN 37

Pagination

22p.

Publisher

MDPI

ISSN

2218-1989

Rights Statement

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)