Pure culture of Metarhizium anisopliae LHL07 reprograms soybean to higher growth and mitigates salt stress

Abdul Latif Khan, Muhammad Hamayun, Sumera Afzal Khan, Sang-Mo Kang, Zabta Khan Shinwari, Muhammad Kamran, Shafiq Ur Rehman, Jong-Guk Kim, In-Jung Lee
World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology 2012, 28 (4): 1483-94
Little is known about the role of endophytic fungi against abiotic stresses and isoflavonoids (IF) contents of soybean. In current study, we investigated the role of fungal endophytes on the growth of soybean under salt stress conditions. Pure cultures of nine endophytic fungi were isolated from the roots of field-grown soybean plants, and their culture filtrates were screened on Waito-C and Dongjin-byeo rice cultivars; for identification of plant growth promoting fungal strains. It was observed that fungal isolate GMC-2B significantly promoted the growth of both Waito-C and Dongjin-byeo. GMC-2B was later identified as a new strain of Metarhizium anisopliae LHL07 on the basis of 18S rDNA sequences and phylogenetic analysis. Metarhizium anisopliae LHL07 inoculated soybean plants recorded significantly higher shoot length, shoot fresh and dry biomass, chlorophyll contents, transpiration rate, photosynthetic rate and leaf area; under sodium chloride induced salt stress as compared to non-inoculated control plants. An elevated proline and reduced superoxide dismutase and malondialdehyde contents in M. anisopliae LHL07 inoculated soybean plants demonstrated mitigation of salt induced oxidative stress. Furthermore, reduced abscisic acid and elevated jasmonic acid contents in soybean plants confirmed that lesser stress was convened to M. anisopliae inoculated-plants under salinity stress. We also assessed the role of M. anisopliae interaction on IF biosynthesis of soybean, and found significantly higher IF contents in M. anisopliae inoculated soybean plants. In conclusion, endophytic fungal interactions with soybean can be beneficial to improve soybean quality and quantity under salt affected agricultural systems.

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