Inoculation of Barley (Hordeum vulgare) with the Endophyte Epichloë bromicola Affects Plant Growth, and the Microbial Community in Roots and Rhizosphere Soil

Jing Liu, Zhengfeng Wang, Zhenjiang Chen, James F. White, Kamran Malik, Taixiang Chen, Chunjie Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hordeum vulgare is an important source of feed and forage for livestock, and of food and drink for humans, but its utilization rate is lower than that of other cereal crops, thus it is crucial to improve barley agronomic traits and production. Epichloë bromicola is an endophyte that was isolated from wild barley (Hordeum brevisubulatum). Previous studies have found that Epichloë can indirectly influence the growth of host plants by affecting soil chemical characteristics, the microbial community, and by producing a range of secondary metabolites. However, underlying effects of Epichloë on the abundance and diversity of soil and root microbes have not been well-studied. In addition, there is a question regarding the relationship between endophyte-produced alkaloids and effects on the root and rhizosphere microbial communities. The objective of this study was to investigate changes in agronomic traits, nutritional properties, peramine, soil chemical and microbial community in the fourth generation of new barley symbionts EI (E. bromicola-infection) and EF (E. bromicola-free) in LQ+4 and LZ+4. We understand the plant height and biomass of EI in LZ+4 were significantly higher than those of EF. The HPLC analysis showed that the peramine content of EI in LQ+4 and LZ+4 was 0.085 and 0.1 mg/g, respectively. We compared the bacterial and fungal communities by analyzing the 16s rRNA (for bacteria) and ITS rDNA regions (for fungi). Our data revealed that the composition of fungal communities in rhizosphere soil of LZ+4 EI are higher than EF. In addition, the diversity and richness of fungal communities in root and rhizosphere soil of LQ+4 EI and LZ+4 EI are significantly higher than EF. Rhizosphere soil microbial community composition was higher than that in roots in LQ+4 and LZ+4. Peramine was significantly and pos-itively correlated with the richness of the soil fungal community. Moreover, the principal compo-nent analysis (PCoA) results indicated that E. bromicola significantly influenced the community composition of root and rhizosphere soil microbes in both LQ+4 and LZ+4. Our results illustrate that E. bromicola can influence barley growth, peramine production and microbial communities associated with barley.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number172
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology (medical)


  • 16s rRNA
  • Epichloë bromicola
  • ITS rDNA
  • Novel symbionts
  • Nutritional properties
  • Peramine


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