Research Highlight from USDA-ARS Lexington

      Soil salinity is a major problem negatively affecting crop growth in many areas of the world, and selecting for traits in plant varieties that tolerate salt stress is a major research goal. Previous work has demonstrated that the presence of the tall fescue endophyte, Epichloë coenophiala, contributes to the ability of tall fescue to better withstand heat and water stress. Research was undertaken to characterize the contribution of the tall fescue endophyte in regards to salt stress tolerance. The results indicated that endophyte promoted salinity tolerance in tall fescue by maintaining higher growth and photosynthetic efficiency and lowering Na+ accumulation and lipid peroxidation. This work confirms that the presence of the endophyte can aid in growth of tall fescue under salt stress, thereby demonstrating an additional benefit for the presence of endophyte in persistence of tall fescue under different stress environments. Read the full peer reviewed article here: ~ Pan, L., Cui, S., Dinkins, R.D., Jiang, Y.