The Effect of Endophytic Fungi on Nematode Populations in Summer-dormant and Summer-active Tall Fescue

James K. Rogers, Nathan R. Walker, Carolyn A. Young

Abstract


Summer-active (continental) and summer-dormant (Mediterranean) tall fescue morphotypes are each adapted to different environmental conditions. Endophyte presence provides plant parasitic nematode resistance, but not with all endophyte strains and cultivar combinations. This study sought to compare effects of four nematode genera on continental and Mediterranean cultivars infected with common toxic or novel endophyte strains. A 6-mon greenhouse study was conducted with continental cultivars, Kentucky 31 (common toxic) and Texoma MaxQ II (novel endophyte) and the Mediterranean cultivar Flecha MaxQ (novel endophyte). Endophyte-free plants of each cultivar were controls. Each cultivar 3 endophyte combination was randomly assigned to a control, low or high inoculation rate of a mixed nematode culture containing stunt nematodes (Tylenchorhynchus spp.), ring nematodes (Criconemella spp.), spiral nematodes (Helicotylenchus spp.), and lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus spp.). Endophyte infection had no effect on nematode population densities. The cultivar 3 endophyte interaction was significant. Population densities of stunt nematode, spiral nematode, and ring nematodes were higher for Flecha MaxQ than other cultivar 3 endophyte combinations. Novel endophyte infection enhances suitability of Flecha MaxQ as a nematode host.

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