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Endophytes to Increase Sustainability and Disease Resistance

Posted by Stephen Locker | September 17, 2014

March 26, 2014

View the recording at

Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest presents research with endophytes that is designed to improve the sustainability of poplar-based biofuel and bioproduct production.  Endophytes are beneficial microorganisms that live fully within plants without causing disease.  Although endophytes are present in most poplar trees, addition of specific endophyte strains from native poplar can have pronounced impacts on the growth and health of cultivated poplar varieties.  Endophytes have the potential to increase plant growth and disease resistance with fewer inputs.

These natural symbionts can provide multiple benefits to the host plant such as fixing atmospheric nitrogen gas into ammonia fertilizer, solubilizing phosphate in the rhizosphere making this essential macronutrient available, producing phytohormones that promote plant growth, and increasing drought tolerance.  In addition, endophytes can also alter disease outcomes in their host plants.

What’s covered? 

  • An introduction to endophytes
  • How endophytes isolated from wild poplar and willow can improve the growth and health of poplar as well as other plants.
  • The range of effects endophytes can have on Melampsora rust, a major pathogen of poplar in plantation settings.

Presenters: Sharon Doty, University of Washington and Posy Busby, University of Washington and University of Idaho.

Sponsored by:  Washington State University with funding from Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30407 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).