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Article

Diversity of Endophytic and Pathogenic Fungi of Saffron (Crocus sativus) Plants from Cultivation Sites in Italy

Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources, National Research Council, Division of Perugia, Via della Madonna Alta 130, 06128 Perugia, Italy
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Milko A. Jorquera and Jacquelinne Acuña
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110535
Received: 29 September 2021 / Revised: 18 October 2021 / Accepted: 22 October 2021 / Published: 26 October 2021
Crocus sativus is an important crop for the production of saffron and bioactive compounds. Plant endophytic fungi are a source of secondary metabolites additional to those produced by the plant itself. We analysed the biodiversity of endophytic fungi present in corms, stems, leaves, tepals, and stigmas of C. sativus from ten Italian sites; furthermore, we isolated putative pathogenic fungi from rotten plants. We used an in vitro isolation approach followed by molecular analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS rDNA) region. We obtained 165 strains belonging to 39 OTUs, spreading over 26 genera and 29 species. Dark septate endophytes of the genus Cadophora and the species Talaromyces pinophilus dominated in corms, while Alternaria alternata, Epicoccum spp., T. pinophilus, Mucor fragilis, and Stemphylium vesicarium dominated in other tissues. The most frequently isolated pathogens were Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizopus oryzae. Endophytic communities significantly differed among tissues and life stages, whereas differences among cultivation sites were not statistically supported. Several endophytes were hypothesized to have changing trophic modes and/or to be latent pathogens in C. sativus. All strains were conserved ex-situ for future bioactivity tests and production of metabolites. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cadophora spp.; corm rot; dark septate endophytes; functional guild; internal transcribed spacer; Talaromyces spp. Cadophora spp.; corm rot; dark septate endophytes; functional guild; internal transcribed spacer; Talaromyces spp.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Belfiori, B.; Rubini, A.; Riccioni, C. Diversity of Endophytic and Pathogenic Fungi of Saffron (Crocus sativus) Plants from Cultivation Sites in Italy. Diversity 2021, 13, 535. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110535

AMA Style

Belfiori B, Rubini A, Riccioni C. Diversity of Endophytic and Pathogenic Fungi of Saffron (Crocus sativus) Plants from Cultivation Sites in Italy. Diversity. 2021; 13(11):535. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110535

Chicago/Turabian Style

Belfiori, Beatrice, Andrea Rubini, and Claudia Riccioni. 2021. "Diversity of Endophytic and Pathogenic Fungi of Saffron (Crocus sativus) Plants from Cultivation Sites in Italy" Diversity 13, no. 11: 535. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110535

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