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Occurrence and Significance of Endophytic Fungi in the Fine Fescues. D. C. Saha, Research Scientist, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick 08903. J. M. Johnson-Cicalese, P. M. Halisky, M. I. Van Heemstra, and C. R. Funk. Senior Laboratory Technician, Professor, Postdoctoral Research Associate, and Professor, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick 08903. Plant Dis. 71:1021-1024. Accepted for publication 6 April 1987. Copyright 1987 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-71-1021.

Acremonium-type endophytic fungi were detected in 19 of 83 seed lots of fine fescue cultivars and selections. The 19 infected seed lots were mostly of European origin and averaged 50% infected seed. Endophytes were detected in 10 of 328 fine fescue plants collected from old established turfs throughout the United States. Endophytes found in these plants and seed lots of fine fescue are, for the most part, non-choke-inducing (NCI). Of particular significance is the finding that NCI endophytes occur in blue fescue, sheeps fescue, various-leaved fescue, and Festuca ovina subsp. vallesiaca. NCI endophytic fungi were also found in three subspecies of F. rubra, namely, strong creeping red, slender creeping red, and Chewings fescue and in hard fescues. These endophytes appear to be associated with enhanced host plant resistance to chinch bugs, an important turfgrass pest. Breeding programs to incorporate useful NCI endophytes into leading cultivars and elite germ plasm collections of fine fescue have been initiated.

Keyword(s): Acremonium, Blissus leucopterus hirtus, EpichloŽ typhina, Festuca glauca, F. heterophylla, F. longifolia, F. ovina, F. rubra subsp. commutata, F. rubra subsp. litoralis, F. rubra subsp. rubra.