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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 270; doi:10.3390/ijms19010270

The Plant Growth-Promoting Fungus (PGPF) Alternaria sp. A13 Markedly Enhances Salvia miltiorrhiza Root Growth and Active Ingredient Accumulation under Greenhouse and Field Conditions

Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China
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Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 13 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Botany)
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Abstract

Plant growth-promoting fungi (PGPF) have attracted considerable interest as bio-fertilisers due to their multiple beneficial effects on plant quantity and quality and their positive relationship with the ecological environment. Advancements in the development of PGPF for crops and economic plant cultivation applications have been achieved, but such improvements for the use of PGPF with popular medicinal herbs, such as Salvia miltiorrhiza, are rare. In this study, we collected S. miltiorrhiza specimens inhabiting wild, semi-wild, farmland and pot-cultured areas in the Henan province of China and isolated endophytes from the roots, shoots and leaves of these samples. Twenty-eight strains of the dominant genus Alternaria were identified and selected as candidate PGPF. Under greenhouse conditions, Alternaria sp. A13 simultaneously enhanced the dry root biomass and secondary metabolite accumulation of S. miltiorrhiza as the optimal PGPF of the 28 candidate isolates. To further assess the interaction between S. miltiorrhiza and Alternaria sp. A13, the effects on seedlings growth, active ingredient accumulation, and the activity of key enzymes for effective biosynthetic pathways were investigated over a period of six months under field conditions. Compared to uninoculated seedlings, S. miltiorrhiza seedlings colonised by Alternaria sp. A13 showed significant increment of 140% in fresh weight, 138% in dry weight, and enhancement in the contents of total phenolic acid, lithospermic acids A and B (LAA and LAB, respectively) of 210%, 128% and 213%, respectively. Examination of the related enzyme activities showed that the elicitation effect of A13 on LAB accumulation correlated with cinnamic acid 4-hydroxylase (C4H) activity in the phenylpropanoid pathway under field conditions. Our results confirmed that Alternaria sp. A13 not only contributes to the stimulation of S. miltiorrhiza root growth, but also boosts the secondary metabolism, thus demonstrating its application potential as a bio-fertiliser for S. miltiorrhiza cultivation, especially in areas outside of its native growth regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: bio-fertiliser; Alternaria; Salvia miltiorrhiza; lithospermic acid B (LAB); cinnamic acid 4-hydroxylase (C4H) bio-fertiliser; Alternaria; Salvia miltiorrhiza; lithospermic acid B (LAB); cinnamic acid 4-hydroxylase (C4H)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhou, L.S.; Tang, K.; Guo, S.X. The Plant Growth-Promoting Fungus (PGPF) Alternaria sp. A13 Markedly Enhances Salvia miltiorrhiza Root Growth and Active Ingredient Accumulation under Greenhouse and Field Conditions. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 270.

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