Link to home

Is Chemical Warfare More Common Among Seed Microbes Than Other Plant Microbes?

Maria Marlin: University of Idaho

<div>Because endophytic antagonists have shown the ability to significantly reduce disease severity, we need to know where to look for the most effective ones. The seed microbiome is comprised of specialized members, and individual seeds host few microbes. Two mechanisms appear to be responsible. First, seeds are strongly defended by plants, and second, seed microbes actively exclude one another from individual seeds. Following numerous observations of exclusionary interactions between cultured seed endophytes, we hypothesize that seed microbes commonly inhibit one another through chemical means. We further hypothesize this inhibition will be more common and severe in the seed microbiome of a given plant compared with its vegetative counterpart. In this study, we use Western White Pine (<em>Pinus monticola</em>) to test the hypothesis that antagonistic behavior among seed endophytes is stronger than antagonistic behavior among needle endophytes. Agar plugs of actively growing endophytes were plated in dual culture on PDA to measure antagonistic activity between endophytes. Results will be discussed.</div>