CBGP researchers have studied the diversity of cultivable fungal endophytes from leaves, stems and fruits of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana
Plants in nature are inhabited by a great diversity of microorganisms. Most of these microorganisms do not harm the host plant, but are beneficial, helping the plant to grow better, to defend itself against harmful organisms and to adapt to unfavorable environmental conditions. One group of such microorganisms is formed by endophytic fungi. These fungi grow within the plants without producing disease symptoms. It is known that endophytic fungi can be beneficial for plants as plant growth promoters and providing tolerance to adverse conditions and resistance to diseases and plant eating insects. However, it is not known, in most cases, how these fungi interact with the plants to give benefit. Actually, the inhabiting fungi of most plant species are not known, and neither the factors that determine the composition of endophytic fungal communities. It is necessary to know better the endophytic communities and the way in which they interact with the plants in order to be able to apply their beneficial properties to crops.
CBGP researchers have studied the diversity of cultivable fungal endophytes from leaves, stems and fruits of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. A. thaliana does not only live in labs, but it is a wild plant that can be found in diverse habitats. Like other wild plants, A. thaliana hosts communities made of infinity of microorganisms that only recently are being studied. Soledad Sacristán and her collaborators have studied the composition of endophytic fungal communities in Arabidopsis plants from natural populations of Central Iberian Peninsula, analyzing the biotic and abiotic factors that can determine their abundance and composition. In addition, they have obtained a large collection of isolates that can be used to better study the endophytic way of life, taking advantage from the tools and knowledge that are available from the host, A. thaliana.