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In this project we like to quantify the infection rates (occurrence and abundance) and alkaloid concentrations of Poaceae species in the 150 grassland EPs of the Biodiversity Exploratories.

We collected more than 600 grass samples of the perennial ryegrass Lolium perenne in 2014 and will detect the endophytic fungus Neotyphodium lolii using immunoplot assays and qPCR of genomic DNA. We will also quantify the alkaloids using an UPLC-Tandem-MS. We also plan to sample other Poacea species, which occur in reasonable abundances in the exploratory grasslands to identify possible infections of the Neotyphodium/Epichloë species group and to detect their alkaloid profiles. In a last subproject we will collect again samples of Lolium perenne on the grasslands and will use barcoding techniques to detect the endophyte diversity.


With our data we like to address the following key research questions focusing on the diversity of endophytic fungus – host grass symbiosis and ecosystem functioning of infected host grass:

1. Which endophytic fungus – grass symbioses are present in grasslands and are they affected by land-use intensity?

2. Are alkaloid profiles and concentrations produced by endophyte-grass symbioses in the biodiversity exploratories toxic for herbivores?


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Gras-Endophyten und ihre Abhängigkeit von der Landnutzungsintensität
König J. (2018): Fungal grass endophytes and their dependence on land-use intensity. Dissertation, University of Würzburg.
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König J., Fuchs B., Krischke M., Mueller M. J., Krauss J. (2018): Hide and seek – Infection rates and alkaloid concentrations of Epichloë festucae var. lolii in Lolium perenne along a land-use gradient in Germany. Grass and Forage Science 73 (2), 510-516. doi: 10.1111/gfs.12330
More information:  doi.org
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König J., Guerreiro M. A., Peršoh D., Begerow D., Krauss J. (2018): Knowing your neighbourhood—the effects of Epichloë endophytes on foliar fungal assemblages in perennial ryegrass in dependence of season and land-use intensity. PeerJ 6:e4660. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4660
More information:  doi.org
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Infektionsraten und Alkaloidmuster verschiedener Grasarten mit systemischen Epichloë Endophyten
Vikuk V., Young C. A., Lee S. T., Nagabhyru P., Krischke M., Müller M. J., Krauss J. (2019): Infection Rates and Alkaloid Patterns of Different Grass Species with Systemic Epichloë Endophytes. Applies and Environmental Microbiology 85 (17), e00465-19. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00465-19
More information:  doi.org

Project in other funding periods

DEFENSE II (Contributing project)
#Microorganisms & Fungi  #2017 – 2020  

Scientific assistants

Prof. Dr. Jochen Krauß
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Jochen Krauß
Prof. Dr. Martin Müller
Project manager
Prof. Dr. Martin Müller
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Veronika Vikuk
Employee
Veronika Vikuk
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