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Non-systemic fungal endophytes in Carex brevicollis may influence the toxicity of the sedge to livestock

AuthorsCanals, Rosa María; San Emeterio, L.; Sánchez Márquez, M. Salud ; Ruiz de los Mozos, Igor ; Pujol, Pablo; Zabalgogeazcoa, Iñigo ; Zabalgogeazcoa, Iñigo
KeywordsLivestock toxicity
Fungal endophyte
Plant-endophyte interaction
Issue Date2014
PublisherInstituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (España)
CitationSpanish Journal of Agricultural Research 12(3): 623- 632 (2014)
AbstractThe sedge Carex brevicollis is a common component of semi-natural grasslands and forests in temperate mountains of Central and Southern Europe. The consumption of this species causes a severe toxicity to livestock, associated to high plant concentrations of the β-carbolic alkaloid brevicolline. This research was started to ascertain the origin of this toxicity. An exploratory survey of alkaloid content in plants growing in contrasting habitats (grasslands/forests) did not contribute to find a pattern of the variable contents of brevicolline in plants, and led us to address other possibilities, such as a potential role of fungal endophytism. Systemic, vertically-transmitted endophytes producers of herbivore-deterrent alkaloids are known to infect many known forage grasses. We did not detect systemic endophytes in C. brevicollis, but the sedge harboured a rich community of non-systemic fungi. To test experimentally whether non-systemic endophytes influenced the synthesis of the alkaloid, 24 plants were submitted to a fungicide treatment to remove the fungal assemblage, and the offspring ramets were analysed for alkaloid content. Brevicolline was the major β-carbolic alkaloid detected, and the contents were at least five times lower in the new ramets that developed from fungicide-treated plants than in the untreated plants. This result, although not conclusive about the primary source of the alkaloid (a plant or a fungal product) indicates that fungal endophytes may affect the contents of the toxic brevicolline in this sedge.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2014123-5219
Identifiersdoi: 10.5424/sjar/2014123-5219
issn: 1695-971X
Appears in Collections:(IDAB) Artículos
(IRNASA) Artículos
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