Table of Contents
Journal of Mycology
Volume 2016, Article ID 8062073, 9 pages
Research Article

Soil Influences Colonization of Root-Associated Fungal Endophyte Communities of Maize, Wheat, and Their Progenitors

1Truman State University, 100 East Normal Street, Kirksville, MO 63501, USA
2Western New Mexico University, 1000 W. College Avenue, Silver City, NM 88062, USA
3Kansas State University, 4024 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA

Received 30 June 2015; Revised 21 December 2015; Accepted 24 December 2015

Academic Editor: Leo Van Griensven

Copyright © 2016 Deepak Bokati et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Root-associated fungal endophytes are vital component of root microbiome as some mitigate their host’s abiotic and biotic stress. We characterized root-associated fungal endophytes in cereal grains and their progenitors grown on two different soil-types. We aimed at determining how clay and desert soil affects the colonization of root fungal community. Both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods were employed to identify endophytes that successfully colonized greenhouse-grown host plants. The Internal Transcriber Spacer region of fungal ribosomal DNA was utilized for identification purposes. This study revealed soil as a prominent factor influencing the composition of microfungal communities inhabiting the roots of maize (Zea mays subsp. mays) and its conspecific progenitor, teosinte (Zea mays subsp. parviglumis). Similar results were found in wheat (Triticum aestivum subsp. aestivum) and its progenitor (Triticum monococcum subsp. monococcum). The multidimensional comparisons of Morisita-Horn similarity values of fungal colonists of various host plant taxa indicated that soil plays a primary role in shaping the root fungal community; a secondary effect was plant host identity, even when the plant host is a conspecific. Future studies focused on characterizing root endophytes in other cereal grains, and studying the effect of edaphic factors on fungal colonization, can ultimately contribute to crop productivity.