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Neotyphodium endophytes in tall fescue seed: viability after seed production and prolonged cold storage

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This research quantified frequencies of Neotyphodium-infected (E+) tillers and mature seed from E+ plants of two wild tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire (= Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) accessions from the Mediterranean basin that were stored in the seed bank at the USDA, ARS Western Regional Plant Introduction (PI) Station, Pullman, Washington USA. Tiller-infection levels were high in glasshouse (>97%) and field (100%) plants of each accession and over 99% of the seed from E+ plants of both accessions harbored viable Neotyphodium endophyte. Seed germination was either slightly improved (Morocco accession) or not affected (Italy) by endophyte infection. High levels of viable E+ seed were produced by E+ field plants grown under a wide range of ambient temperatures (−27° to 37°C). These collective results suggest that viable endophyte is retained with current seed-regeneration practices at the Pullman PI Station. This study also documented viable Neotyphodium infection frequencies (16–100%) in plants grown from seed of 20 additional Mediterranean tall fescue accessions stored for four to ten years in the Pullman seed bank. For some of these accessions, low post-storage infection frequencies, in comparison with their high initial viability levels, suggested a decline in endophyte viability during seed storage. Additional evidence for diminishing endophyte viability levels in some accessions was provided by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), immunoblot, and microscopic seed assays.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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