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A meta-analysis of endophytic colonization efficacy of Beauveria bassiana across the plant kingdom

Shalini Yerukala: University of Tennessee, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

<div>Endophytic isolates of the insect pathogenic fungus <em>Beauveria bassiana</em> can protect against plant pathogens. However, little is known about the diversity of plant taxa and tissues colonized by <em>B. bassiana</em>, or the extent of colonization. To fill these knowledge gaps, a meta-analysis of published studies was conducted using a random-effects model. We collected 69 results from the Web of Science database, and screened studies that reported <em>B. bassiana</em> colonization percentage. A total of 613 studies was extracted. Moderator analysis was used to identify 39 experimental factors that influenced <em>B. bassiana</em> plant colonization. In these studies, tissue cultured banana, pine, sorghum, and tomato were the most frequently tested plants; <em>B. bassiana</em> was applied mainly on foliage or seed; and colonization efficacy was determined mostly in leaf and root tissues. Across studies, endophytic plant colonization by <em>B. bassiana</em> was 41% in different plant taxa, with most studies reporting 30 to 70%. Colonization percentage was greatest on stems and leaves. The percentage of total variation across studies that is due to heterogeneity rather than chance was <em>I</em><sup>2 </sup>< 50%. Thus, our findings provide a <span>quantitative review of endophytic colonization by <em>B. bassiana</em> across a range of plant species, which may enhance current understanding of <em>B. bassiana</em> </span>as an endophyte, and provide new information for development of sustainable, eco-friendly disease management strategies.</div>