Seed-borne fungal endophytes on fourwing saltbush, <i> Atriplex canescens <i/>

TitleSeed-borne fungal endophytes on fourwing saltbush, Atriplex canescens
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsBarrow J.R., Havstad K, Hubstenberger J., McCaslin BD
JournalArid Soil Research and Rehabilitation
Date PublishedOctober 1, 1997
Keywordsarid ecology, endophytic fungi, fertility, germination, land restoration, mutualism, mycorrhizae, native plants, plant nutrition, saprophytic fungi, symbiosis

Fourwing saltbush, Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt., produces copious quantities of small seed, with minimal nutrient reserves, protected in a hard porous capsule (utricle) that aids in dispersal. At germination, saprophytic fungi simultaneously colonize the utricle, testa, and root cortex cells of the emerging radicles. Seedling vigor was determined by measuring hypocotyl and radicle lengths after germination on minimal carbon or cellulose-supplemented medium. Comparisons were made between seedlings from utricle-excised and intact seed. Comparisons were also made between surface-sterilized and nonsterile excised seed. Minimal growth responses were observed in germinating seedlings from excised seeds on minimal carbon medium. Fungi, utricles, and cellulose supplementation positively affected seedling vigor. The results support a hypothesis that septate fungi recycle utricles and access organic carbon for seedling establishment.