Unraveling the role of fungal symbionts in plant abiotic stress tolerance

  • Singh L
  • Gill S
  • Tuteja N
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Abstract

Fungal symbionts have been found to be associated with every plant studied in the natural ecosystem, where they colonize and reside entirely or partially in the internal tissues of their host plant. Fungal endophytes can express/form a range of different lifestyle/relationships with different host including symbiotic, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic in response to host genotype and environmental factors. In mutualistic association fungal endophyte can enhance growth, increase reproductive success and confer biotic and abiotic stress tolerance to its host plant. Since abiotic stress such as, drought, high soil salinity, heat, cold, oxidative stress and heavy metal toxicity is the common adverse environmental conditions that affect and limit crop productivity worldwide. It may be a promising alternative strategy to exploit fungal endophytes to overcome the limitations to crop production brought by abiotic stress. There is an increasing interest in developing the potential biotechnological applications of fungal endophytes for improving plant stress tolerance and sustainable production of food crops. Here we have described the fungal symbioses, fungal symbionts and their role in abiotic stress tolerance. A putative mechanism of stress tolerance by symbionts has also been covered.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Abiotic stress
  • Endophytes
  • Fungal symbiont
  • Mycorrhizal fungus
  • Piriformospora indica
  • Stress tolerance
  • Symbiosis

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Authors

  • Lamabam Peter Singh

  • Sarvajeet Singh Gill

  • Narendra Tuteja

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