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Beneficial fungal endophytes in cotton

Gregory Sword: Texas A&M University

<div><span>Beneficial fungal endophytes can confer protection to plants from a variety of stressors and improve yields in major agricultural crops. Fungal endophytes originally isolated from cultivated cotton (<em>Gossypium hirsutum</em>) have been shown to have a number of important ecological, physiological and agronomic effects on the plant. Using simple seed treatment protocols, individual cotton plants can be inoculated with endophytic fungi with resulting phenotypic effects detectable across the entire growing season. The targeted manipulation of fungal endophytes in cotton can mediate resistance to multiple stressors including insects, nematodes and drought, with significant positive impacts on plant performance and yields in the field. Having demonstrated that the application of endophytic fungi to cotton can impact plant responses to multiple stressors, ongoing work is focused on the mechanisms by which the fungi exert these effects in cotton, and comparative analyses of their effects in other plants. </span></div>

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