Geographic distribution patterns of vertically transmitted endophytes in two native grasses in Argentina

Leopoldo J. Iannone, Patricia D. Mc Cargo, Liliana M. Giussani, Christopher L. Schardl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The incidence of epichloid endophytes in populations of wild grasses is usually variable, and the knowledge about distribution patterns and how environmental factors affect such an incidence is limited. Here we performed a broad scale survey data to study whether the distribution patterns and the incidence of vertically-transmitted endophytes in populations of two native grasses from South-America, Poa lanuginosa Poir. and Poa bonariensis (Lam.) Kunth., are associated with environmental characteristics. We also characterized the endophytes from different populations to establish if the genotype of the endophytes is also correlated with environmental variables. The incidence of endophytes ranged from 0 to 100 % in both host species. In P. lanuginosa, endophytes were only found in populations on sandy coastal dunes and their incidence was positively associated with winter regime rainfall and soil water availability in the growing season. In P. bonariensis, endophytes were only found in populations in xerophytic forests and their incidence was highly associated with plant community. The distributions of infested populations suggested that the endophytes are not found in those areas with the most favorable or most stressing growth conditions accordingly to climatic or edaphical characteristics. Only the vertically transmitted hybrid endophyte species Neotyphodium tembladerae was detected in both host species. Under the hypothesis of vertical transmission, these results suggested that the endophyte should have been lost in endophyte free populations but is maintained in populations established in environments presenting moderate stress as salinity or short drought periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by University of Buenos Aires (UBACyT 20020090300118), CONICET (PIP 1482), and ANPCyT, PAE-PICT Nº58. Support to CLS was from USDA-ARS Specific Cooperative Agreement grant 200911131030. This research was started under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Cabral.


  • Distribution
  • Endophytes
  • Epichloae
  • Incidence
  • Neotyphodium
  • Poa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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