Indirect interaction between an unspecialized endophytic fungus and a polyphagous moth

2004 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Indirect interaction between an unspecialized endophytic fungus and a polyphagous moth​
Jallow, M. F. A.; Dugassa-Gobena, D. & Vidal, S.​ (2004) 
Basic and Applied Ecology5(2) pp. 183​-191​.​ DOI: 

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Jallow, Mustapha F. A.; Dugassa-Gobena, Dereje; Vidal, Stefan
Despite their ubiquitous occurrence in natural and managed ecosystems, the role of unspecialized fungal endophytes in mediating insect-plant interactions have been largely ignored compared to clavicipitaceous fungal enclophytes of grasses. We conducted laboratory and glasshouse experiments to test the hypothesis that an unspecialized fungal endophyte (Acremonium strictum) restricted to the root system of the host plant is able to mediate the interaction between a polyphagous herbivorous insect (Helicoverpa armigera) and its host plant (tomatoes, Lycopersicum esculentum). Our studies indicated a significant variation in the ability of inoculated and control plants to support the life history stages of the insect. Larvae reared on inoculated plants suffer significant reduction in growth rate, prolonged development times, suppressed moulting, and produced smaller pupae that were more likely to die, and emerged adults were less fecund compared to larvae reared on control plants. In glasshouse bioassays were larvae were allowed to graze freely, on inoculated plants only 20% survived to the final stadium compared to 54.5% on control plants. No significant differences in the amount of foliage consumed were found between inoculated and control plants, suggesting that A. strictum does not act as a feeding deterrent for H. armigera larvae. Larvae fed inoculated plants showed a significant increase in the relative consumption rate, although the approximate digestibility of ingested food, and efficiency with which both ingested food and digested food was converted to insect biomass decreased during the same period. In addition to reduced efficiency of food utilization, surviving larvae on inoculated plants displayed a significant reduction in relative growth rate. We hypothesized that alterations in phytosterol composition mediated by infection of the fungal endophyte, may explain the reduced larval performance on inoculated plants.
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Basic and Applied Ecology 
Fakultät für Agrarwissenschaften ; Department für Nutzpflanzenwissenschaften ; Abteilung Agrarentomologie 
1618-0089; 1439-1791



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