Endophyte

A widely accepted definition of an endophyte is; "endophytes symptomlessly colonize the living, internal tissues of their host, even though the endophyte may, after an incubation or latency period, cause disease" (Petrini 1991). This definition includes virtually any microbe that colonizes the internal tissues of plants. For example, some plant-pathogenic fungi, such as the smut fungi, can be defined as endophytes unless the plant shows symptoms after the infection (Stone et al. 2000). Endophytes are generally known to enhance plant tolerance to environmental stresses, damage from harmful insects, and diseases caused by pathogens and nematodes. There are a few studies on the plant-growth promoting effect of endophytic fungi. Yetes et al. (1997) observed a slight but significant increase in plant weight, shoot height, and shoot diameter in Fusarium moniliforme-infected plants, 28 days after planting compared to uninoculated control plants. Pinus contorta inoculated with Phialocephala fortinii increased uptake of phosphorus and nitrogen, that resulted in enhanced growth of inoculated plants compared with noninoculated plants (Jumpponen and Trappe 1998).

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