Fungal endophytes – the hidden inducers of volatile terpene biosynthesis in tomato plants

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch

Endophytes comprise a polyphyletic and diverse group of microorganisms that colonize plant tissues and do not cause any immediate infection symptoms. Revealing the mechanisms of plant-endophyte mutualistic interactions has attracted considerable attention lately, mainly due to their multiple benefits on plant growth and fitness, but also due to the need for alternative and more sustainable agricultural solutions.
Serendipita indica (syn. Piriformospora indica) is an endophytic fungus with several promising agricultural and biotechnological applications. The fungus, originally isolated from mycorrhizal spores in the Indian Thar desert, colonizes the root cortex of a wide range of plants, enhancing plant growth and modulating plant specialized metabolism. The effect of S. indica colonization on the metabolism of the host can be potentially used in improving plant defence against pathogens and herbivores. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is an important crop, often challenged by fungal pathogens and insect pests. The wide variety of secondary metabolites produced by the plant, and especially terpenes, play a crucial role in plant defence, helping in repelling possible enemies.
This project is focused on establishing a balanced interaction between S. indica and tomato in vitro, as well as reliable detection methods that show fungal colonization of inoculated plant roots. The effect of root colonization by S. indica on host specialized metabolism is also determined, by comparing volatile terpene profiles of S. indica-inoculated and S. indica-free tomato plants. Preliminary data suggest that fungal colonization results in increased production of specific volatile terpenes. A transcriptome analysis on fungus-associated and fungus-free plant tissues is currently ongoing to elucidate in depth the mechanisms underlying the specific interaction.
“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 676480”.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventPlant biology 2017 : American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) - Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, United States
Duration: 24 Jun 201728 Jun 2017


ConferencePlant biology 2017
LocationHawaii Convention Center
CountryUnited States
Internet address

ID: 180441183