Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental and Ecological Interactions of Fungi".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 16082

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Laboratory for Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology Research (IMPRES), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
Interests: climate change; abiotic and biotic stresses; plant–environment interactions at various scales spanning from genes-to-plants-to-ecosystems; functional analysis of mycorrhiza and endophytes; secondary metabolites and antioxidants
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Guest Editor
Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
Interests: plant–microbe interaction; isolation and characterization of beneficial micro-organisms; plant response to climate challenges; plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses; bioremediation of environmental pollutants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A plant–fungal microbiome consists of a diverse fungal community that typically interacts extensively with a plant. A beneficial plant–fungal association promotes plant growth and productivity, and enables plants to survive under extreme growth conditions. In this context, plant-associated fungi are involved in improving the uptake of nutrients, production of phytohormones, regulation of plant metabolism, and activation of plants’ responses against both biotic and abiotic stresses. Unfortunately, the detailed physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying plant–fungi interactions are not fully understood. Therefore, this Special Issue welcomes original research articles, reviews, communications, perspectives, and opinions that dissect the physiological and molecular mechanisms behind beneficial plant–fungal interactions under both normal and stressful conditions. The high-quality articles published in this Special Issue, regarding beneficial fungal–plant interactions, will help foster discussions and collaborations within this field.

Dr. Hamada AbdElgawad
Dr. Ahmed Saleh
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • endophytic fungi
  • mycorrhizae
  • fungal characterization
  • metabolism
  • plant growth promotion
  • environmental stress tolerance
  • biotic stress
  • abiotic stress
  • functional mechanisms
  • gene expression

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 7274 KiB  
Article
Parametarhizium hingganense, a Novel Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Species, Promotes the Growth of Mung Beans and Enhances Resistance to Disease Induced by Rhizoctonia solani
by Ying Gao, Siyu Gao, Yang Bai, Wei Meng and Lijian Xu
J. Fungi 2022, 8(9), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8090934 - 02 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1572
Abstract
The mutualistic interactions between mycorrhizae and plants first occurred along with the terrestrialization of plants. The majority of vascular plants are in symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi. Due to their importance to the economy and ecology, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi emerge [...] Read more.
The mutualistic interactions between mycorrhizae and plants first occurred along with the terrestrialization of plants. The majority of vascular plants are in symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi. Due to their importance to the economy and ecology, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi emerge as the most popular ones. However, the mechanism underlying the beneficial function of ECM fungi is not as clear as AM fungi. Here, the interaction between Parametarhizium hingganense, a novel fungal species isolated from forest litter, and mung bean (Vigna radiata) was studied. P. hingganense demonstrated P solubilization ability in vitro. Treatment of P. hingganense on the seeds resulted in promoted growth with enhanced P content. The hyphae of green fluorescence protein (GFP)-tagged P. hingganense were found to surround the roots and develop between cells, suggesting the establishment of an ectomycorrhizal symbiosis. Upon symbiosis with P. hingganense, the levels of jasmonic acid (JA) and gibberellin (GA1) and total phenolic and flavonoid content elevated. Meanwhile, damping off caused by Rhizoctonia solani in mycorrhizal plants was alleviated. Taken together, the above findings suggested that symbiosis with P. hingganense conferred growth promotion and priming of defense responses to host plants which should be associated with facilitated P uptake and increased JA and GA1 levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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14 pages, 1443 KiB  
Article
Diversity of Root-Associated Fungi of the Terrestrial Orchids Gavilea lutea and Chloraea collicensis in a Temperate Forest Soil of South-Central Chile
by Héctor Herrera, Tedy Sanhueza, Rafael Borges da Silva Valadares, Francisco Matus, Guillermo Pereira, Cristian Atala, María de la Luz Mora and Cesar Arriagada
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 794; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080794 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1892
Abstract
The diversity of orchid mycorrhizal fungi (OMF) and other beneficial root-associated fungi in temperate forests has scarcely been examined. This study aimed to analyze the diversity of mycorrhizal and rhizosphere-associated fungal communities in the terrestrial orchids Gavilea lutea and Chloraea collicensis growing in [...] Read more.
The diversity of orchid mycorrhizal fungi (OMF) and other beneficial root-associated fungi in temperate forests has scarcely been examined. This study aimed to analyze the diversity of mycorrhizal and rhizosphere-associated fungal communities in the terrestrial orchids Gavilea lutea and Chloraea collicensis growing in high-orchid-population-density areas in the piedmont of the Andes Cordillera with native forest (Nothofagus-Araucaria) and Coastal Cordillera with an exotic plantation (Pinus-Eucalyptus) in south-central Chile. We focused on rhizosphere-inhabiting and peloton-associated OMF in a native forest (Andes Cordillera) and a mixed forest (Coastal Cordillera). The native terrestrial orchids G. lutea and C. collicensis were localized, mycorrhizal root segments were taken to isolate peloton-associated OMF, and rhizosphere soil was taken to perform the metabarcoding approach. The results revealed that Basidiomycota and Ascomycota were the main rhizosphere-inhabiting fungal phyla, showing significant differences in the composition of fungal communities in both sites. Sebacina was the most-abundant OMF genera in the rhizosphere of G. lutea growing in the native forest soil. In contrast, Thanatephorus was the most abundant mycorrhizal taxa growing in the rhizosphere of orchids from the Coastal Cordillera. Besides, other OMF genera such as Inocybe, Tomentella, and Mycena were detected. The diversity of OMF in pelotons differed, being mainly related to Ceratobasidium sp. and Tulasnella sp. These results provide evidence of differences in OMF from pelotons and the rhizosphere soil in G. lutea growing in the Andes Cordillera and a selection of microbial communities in the rhizosphere of C. collicensis in the Coastal Cordillera. This raises questions about the efficiency of propagation strategies based only on mycorrhizal fungi obtained by culture-dependent methods, especially in orchids that depend on non-culturable taxa for seed germination and plantlet development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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19 pages, 5491 KiB  
Article
Plant Growth-Promoting Fungi as Biocontrol Tool against Fusarium Wilt Disease of Tomato Plant
by Mohamed S. Attia, Amer M. Abdelaziz, Abdulaziz A. Al-Askar, Amr A. Arishi, Ahmed M. Abdelhakim and Amr H. Hashem
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080775 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 3627
Abstract
Plant growth-promoting fungi (PGPF) improve plant health and resist plant pathogens. The present study was carried out to biocontrol tomato Fusarium wilt using PGPF through antifungal activity and enhance tomato plant immune response. Four PGPF were identified genetically as Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus [...] Read more.
Plant growth-promoting fungi (PGPF) improve plant health and resist plant pathogens. The present study was carried out to biocontrol tomato Fusarium wilt using PGPF through antifungal activity and enhance tomato plant immune response. Four PGPF were identified genetically as Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger, Mucor circinelloides and Pencillium oxalicum. In vitro antagonistic activity assay of PGPF against Fusariumoxysporum was evaluated, where it exhibited promising antifungal activity where MIC was in the range 0.25–0.5 mg/mL. Physiological markers of defense in a plant as a response to stimulation of induced systemic resistance (ISR) were recorded. Our results revealed that A. niger, M. circinelloides, A. flavus and P. oxalicum strains significantly reduced percentages of disease severity by 16.60% and 20.83% and 37.50% and 45.83 %, respectively. In addition, they exhibited relatively high protection percentages of 86.35%, 76.87%, 56.87% and 59.06 %, respectively. With concern to the control, it is evident that the percentage of disease severity was about 87.50%. Moreover, the application of M. circinelloides, P. oxalicum, A. niger and A. flavus successfully recovered the damage to morphological traits, photosynthetic pigments’ total carbohydrate and total soluble protein of infected plants. Moreover, the application of tested PGPF enhanced the growth of healthy and infected tomato plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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22 pages, 6068 KiB  
Article
Improved Tolerance of Artemisia ordosica to Drought Stress via Dark Septate Endophyte (DSE) Symbiosis
by Xia Li, Xue Zhang, Minghui Xu, Qiannan Ye, Huili Gao and Xueli He
J. Fungi 2022, 8(7), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8070730 - 13 Jul 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2221
Abstract
Dark septate endophytes (DSEs) usually colonize plant roots, especially in stress environments. However, their relationship with plants ranges from beneficial to harmful and has remained largely uncharacterized. In the present study, 14 DSE species grouped into 11 genera were isolated from the roots [...] Read more.
Dark septate endophytes (DSEs) usually colonize plant roots, especially in stress environments. However, their relationship with plants ranges from beneficial to harmful and has remained largely uncharacterized. In the present study, 14 DSE species grouped into 11 genera were isolated from the roots of a desert plant, Artemisia ordosica, which is widely distributed in northwest China. Three dominant DSE species—Paraphoma chrysanthemicola (Pc), Alternaria chartarum (Ac), and Acrocalymma vagum (Av)—were selected and tested for their resistance to drought in vitro. Furthermore, we characterized the responses of A. ordosica under drought conditions in relation to the presence of these DSEs following inoculation. The results showed that all three strains grew well under in vitro drought stress, and the biomass of Ac and Av was significantly higher than that of the unstressed control. The effects of DSE inoculation on the growth of A. ordosica under drought stress varied according to the different DSE species but were generally beneficial. Under drought stress, Av and Pc promoted plant growth, antioxidant enzyme activity, and root development of the hosts. The Ac strain conferred obvious positive effects on the antioxidant enzyme activity of the hosts. In general, Av and Pc demonstrated better application potential for improving the drought resistance of A. ordosica. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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22 pages, 9191 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of Aspergillus flavus Growth and Aflatoxin Production in Zea mays L. Using Endophytic Aspergillus fumigatus
by Amer M. Abdelaziz, Deiaa A. El-Wakil, Mohamed S. Attia, Omar M. Ali, Hamada AbdElgawad and Amr H. Hashem
J. Fungi 2022, 8(5), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8050482 - 06 May 2022
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 5864
Abstract
Aspergillus flavus infection of vegetative tissues can affect the development and integrity of the plant and poses dangerous risks on human and animal health. Thus, safe and easily applied approaches are employed to inhibit A. flavus growth. To this end, the fungal [...] Read more.
Aspergillus flavus infection of vegetative tissues can affect the development and integrity of the plant and poses dangerous risks on human and animal health. Thus, safe and easily applied approaches are employed to inhibit A. flavus growth. To this end, the fungal endophyte, i.e., Aspergillus fumigatus, was used as a safe biocontrol agent to reduce the growth of A. flavus and its infection in maize seedlings. Interestingly, the safe endophytic A. fumigatus exhibited antifungal activity (e.g., 77% of growth inhibition) against A. flavus. It also reduced the creation of aflatoxins, particularly aflatoxin B1 (AFB1, 90.9%). At plant level, maize seedling growth, leaves and root anatomy and the changes in redox status were estimated. Infected seeds treated with A. fumigatus significantly improved the germination rate by 88.53%. The ultrastructure of the infected leaves showed severe disturbances in the internal structures, such as lack of differentiation in cells, cracking, and lysis in the cell wall and destruction in the nucleus semi-lysis of chloroplasts. Ultrastructure observations indicated that A. fumigatus treatment increased maize (leaf and root) cell wall thickness that consequentially reduced the invasion of the pathogenic A. flavus. It was also interesting that the infected seedlings recovered after being treated with A. fumigatus, as it was observed in growth characteristics and photosynthetic pigments. Moreover, infected maize plants showed increased oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation and H2O2), which was significantly mitigated by A. fumigatus treatment. This mitigation was at least partially explained by inducing the antioxidant defense system, i.e., increased phenols and proline levels (23.3 and 31.17%, respectively) and POD, PPO, SOD and CAT enzymes activity (29.50, 57.58, 32.14 and 29.52%, respectively). Overall, our study suggests that endophytic A. fumigatus treatment could be commercially used for the safe control of aflatoxins production and for inducing biotic stress tolerance of A. flavus-infected maize plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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