Theses and Dissertations

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0009-0003-0322-7737

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Morrison, Jesse I.

Committee Member

Baldwin, Brian S.

Committee Member

Young, Carolyn

Committee Member

Rushing, J. Brett

Date of Degree

8-8-2023

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Major

Agronomy

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department

Department of Plant and Soil Sciences

Abstract

Mutualistic relationships between endophytic fungi and grasses have shown to improve the hardiness of the host. This relationship is common in grasses, including North American native grasses that are important in both forage and grassland ecosystems. Elymus species, such as Canada wildrye (CWR), commonly host the endophytic fungi, Epichloё, while southeastern wildrye (SEWR) may not. In this study, seed of CWR and seed and leaves from local SEWR were assessed for endophyte infection. Infection status was confirmed via histological analysis of seed squashes and leaf peels. Presence/absence of endophyte was determined by scanning for mycelia within seed and between leaf epidermal cells. Following assessment, all SEWR germplasm were endophyte-free (E-), while CWR was endophyte-infected (E+). Endophyte- infected CWR seed were used to isolate and culture the symbiotic endophyte. Isolated endophyte was used to infect E- SEWR. Infection status of SEWR was determined using leaf peels and PCR. This research will help determine if artificial endophyte infection can be performed in SEWR.

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