Symbiotically modified organisms: Nontoxic fungal endophytes in grasses
Gundel, Pedro Emilio; Perez, Luis Ignacio; Helander, Marjo; Saikkonen, Kari; Symbiotically modified organisms: Nontoxic fungal endophytes in grasses; Elsevier Science London; Trends In Plant Science; 18; 8; 4-2013; 420-427
Gundel, Pedro Emilio
Perez, Luis Ignacio
We propose that symbiotically modified organisms (SMOs) should be taken into account in sustainable agriculture. In this opinion article, we present the results of a meta-analysis of the literature, with a particular focus on the potential of SMOs in forage and turf grass production, to determine the impact of endophytes in grasses on livestock, the grassland ecosystems, and associated environments. SMOs can be incorporated into breeding programs to improve grass yield, resistance to pests and weeds, and forage quality for livestock by decreasing the level of toxic alkaloids. However, the benefits of these selected grass-endophyte symbiota appear to be highly dependent on grass cultivar, fungal strain, and environmental conditions, requiring a comprehensive understanding of the genetic bases and phenotypic plasticity of the traits of the plant-microbe unit in different environments.