Link to home

Performance of the Biocontrol Fungus Piriformospora indica on Wheat Under Greenhouse and Field Conditions

April 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  4
Pages  523 - 531

Albrecht Serfling , Stefan G. R. Wirsel , Volker Lind , and Holger B. Deising

First, second, and fourth authors: Institut für Agrar- und Ernährungswissenschaften, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Ludwig-Wucherer-Str. 2, D-06099 Halle (Saale), Germany; and third author: Bundesanstalt für Züchtungsforschung an Kulturpflanzen, Institut für Epidemiologie und Resistenz, Theodor Roemer Weg 4, D-06449 Aschersleben, Germany

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 5 October 2006.

The endophyte Piriformospora indica colonizes roots of a range of host plants and increases biomass production and resistance to fungal pathogens and, thus has been considered a biocontrol fungus. However, the field performance of this fungus has not yet been tested in temperate climates. Therefore, we evaluated the performance of this fungus in different substrata under greenhouse and practical field conditions. Roots of winter wheat were colonized efficiently, and biomass was particularly increased on poor substrata. In greenhouse experiments, symptom severity of a typical leaf (Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici), stem base (Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides), and root (Fusarium culmorum) pathogen was reduced significantly. However, in field experiments, symptoms caused by the leaf pathogen did not differ in Piriformospora indica-colonized compared with control plants. In the field, Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides disease severity was significantly reduced in plants colonized by the endophyte. Increased numbers of sheath layers and hydrogen peroxide concentrations after B. graminis attack were detected in Piriformospora indica-colonized plants, suggesting that root colonization causes induction of systemic resistance or priming of the host plant. Although the endophyte is not well suited for growth at Central European temperature conditions, it remains to be shown whether P. indica is more suitable for tropical or subtropical farming.

Additional keywords: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, powdery mildew, systemic acquired resistance.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society