Special Issue "The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions"

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental and Ecological Interactions of Fungi".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Hamada AbdElgawad
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory for Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology Research (IMPRES), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
Interests: climate change; abiotic and biotic stresses; plant–environment interactions at various scales spanning from genes-to-plants-to-ecosystems; functional analysis of mycorrhiza and endophytes; secondary metabolites and antioxidants
Dr. Ahmed Saleh
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
Interests: plant–microbe interaction; isolation and characterization of beneficial micro-organisms; plant response to climate challenges; plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses; bioremediation of environmental pollutants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A plant–fungal microbiome includes a diverse fungal community that typically interacts extensively with a plant. Among these, a beneficial plant–fungal association allows plants to survive in extreme growth conditions. In this context, plant-associated fungi are involved in up-regulating stress-related genes, producing phytohormones and activating the antioxidant defence system, which supports plant growth under stressful environment. It is likely that the future climate (e.g., elevated CO2, higher temperature, drought) will affect the fungal mutualism with associated plants. Unfortunately, the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying plant–fungi interactions under different environmental conditions are hardly studied. This Special Issue, therefore, welcomes original research articles, reviews, communications, perspectives, and opinions dissecting the physiological and molecular mechanisms behind plant–fungal interaction and how that could be affected by adverse environmental conditions. The high-quality articles on fungal–plant interactions published in this Special Issue will help foster discussions and collaborations within this field.

Dr. Hamada AbdElgawad
Dr. Ahmed Saleh
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Fungi is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Fungi
  • Endophytic fungi
  • Antioxidants
  • Fungal characterization
  • Metabolism
  • Plant growth promotion
  • Eenvironmental stress tolerance
  • Biotic stress
  • Abiotic stress
  • Functional mechanisms
  • Genetic engineering
  • Gene expression.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Arbuscular Mycorrhizae Mitigate Aluminum Toxicity and Regulate Proline Metabolism in Plants Grown in Acidic Soil
J. Fungi 2021, 7(7), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7070531 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can promote plant growth and induce stress tolerance. Proline is reported to accumulate in mycorrhizal plants under stressful conditions, such as aluminum (Al) stress. However, the detailed changes induced in proline metabolism under AMF–plant symbiosis has not been studied. [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can promote plant growth and induce stress tolerance. Proline is reported to accumulate in mycorrhizal plants under stressful conditions, such as aluminum (Al) stress. However, the detailed changes induced in proline metabolism under AMF–plant symbiosis has not been studied. Accordingly, this work aimed to study how Al-stressed grass (barley) and legume (lotus) species respond to AMF inoculation at growth and biochemical levels. The associated changes in Al uptake and accumulation, the rate of photosynthesis, and the key enzymes and metabolites involved in proline biosynthesis and degradation pathways were studied. Soil contamination with Al induced Al accumulation in tissues of both species and, consequently, reduced plant growth and the rate of photosynthesis, while more tolerance was noticed in lotus. Inoculation with AMF significantly reduced Al accumulation and mitigated the negative impacts of Al on growth and photosynthesis in both species; however, these positive effects were more pronounced in barley plants. The mitigating action of AMF was associated with upregulation of proline biosynthesis through glutamate and ornithine pathways, more in lotus than in barley, and repression of its catabolism. The increased proline level in lotus was consistent with improved N metabolism (N level and nitrate reductase). Overall, this study suggests the role of AMF in mitigating Al stress, where regulation of proline metabolism is a worthy mechanism underlying this mitigating action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Transcriptional Responses of Fusarium graminearum Interacted with Soybean to Cause Root Rot
J. Fungi 2021, 7(6), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7060422 - 27 May 2021
Viewed by 629
Abstract
Fusarium graminearum is the most devastating pathogen of Fusarium head blight of cereals, stalk and ear of maize, and it has recently become a potential threat for soybean as maize-soybean strip relay intercropping is widely practiced in China. To elucidate the pathogenesis mechanism [...] Read more.
Fusarium graminearum is the most devastating pathogen of Fusarium head blight of cereals, stalk and ear of maize, and it has recently become a potential threat for soybean as maize-soybean strip relay intercropping is widely practiced in China. To elucidate the pathogenesis mechanism of F. graminearum on intercropped soybean which causes root rot, transcriptional profiling of F. graminearum at 12, 24, and 48 h post-inoculation (hpi) on soybean hypocotyl tissues was conducted. In total, 2313 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of F. graminearum were annotated by both KEGG pathway and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis. Among them, 128 DEGs were commonly expressed at three inoculation time points while the maximum DEGs were induced at 24 hpi. In addition, DEGs were also rich in carbon metabolism, ribosome and peroxisome pathways which might contribute to carbon source utilization, sexual reproduction, virulence and survival of F. graminearum when infected on soybean. Hence, this study will provide some basis for the deep understanding the pathogenesis mechanism of F. graminearum on different hosts and its effective control in maize-soybean strip relay intercropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Epichloë gansuensis Increases the Tolerance of Achnatherum inebrians to Low-P Stress by Modulating Amino Acids Metabolism and Phosphorus Utilization Efficiency
J. Fungi 2021, 7(5), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7050390 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 517
Abstract
In the long-term evolutionary process, Achnatherum inebrians and seed-borne endophytic fungi, Epichloë gansuensis, formed a mutually beneficial symbiosis relationship, and Epichloë gansuensis has an important biological role in improving the tolerance of host grasses to abiotic stress. In this work, we first [...] Read more.
In the long-term evolutionary process, Achnatherum inebrians and seed-borne endophytic fungi, Epichloë gansuensis, formed a mutually beneficial symbiosis relationship, and Epichloë gansuensis has an important biological role in improving the tolerance of host grasses to abiotic stress. In this work, we first assessed the effects of Epichloë gansuensis on dry weight, the content of C, N, P and metal ions, and metabolic pathway of amino acids, and phosphorus utilization efficiency (PUE) of Achnatherum inebrians at low P stress. Our results showed that the dry weights, the content of alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, glycine, glutamine, glutamic acid, L-asparagine, lysine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, and tryptophan were higher in leaves of Epichloë gansuensis-infected (E+) Achnatherum inebrians than Epichloë gansuensis-uninfected (E−) Achnatherum inebrians at low P stress. Further, Epichloë gansuensis increased C content of roots compared to the root of E− plant at 0.01 mM P and 0.5 mM P; Epichloëgansuensis increased K content of leaves compared to the leaf of E− plant at 0.01 mM P and 0.5 mM P. Epichloëgansuensis reduced Ca content of roots compared to the root of E− plant at 0.01 mM P and 0.5 mM P; Epichloë gansuensis reduced the content of Mg and Fe in leaves compared to the leaf of E− plant at 0.01 mM P and 0.5 mM P. In addition, at low P stress, Epichloë gansuensis most probably influenced aspartate and glutamate metabolism; valine, leucine, and isoleucine biosynthesis in leaves; and arginine and proline metabolism; alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism in roots. Epichloë gansuensis also affected the content of organic acid and stress-related metabolites at low P stress. In conclusion, Epichloë gansuensis improves Achnatherum inebrians growth at low P stress by regulating the metabolic pathway of amino acids, amino acids content, organic acid content, and increasing PUE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Improved Tolerance of Mycorrhizal Torreya grandis Seedlings to Sulfuric Acid Rain Related to Phosphorus and Zinc Contents in Shoots
J. Fungi 2021, 7(4), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7040296 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Acid rain (AR) is an increasingly serious environmental problem that frequently occurs in Southern China with sulfuric acid rain (SAR) as the main type. SAR can negatively affect the growth and physiological properties of trees, but mycorrhizal associations may mitigate such detrimental effects. [...] Read more.
Acid rain (AR) is an increasingly serious environmental problem that frequently occurs in Southern China with sulfuric acid rain (SAR) as the main type. SAR can negatively affect the growth and physiological properties of trees, but mycorrhizal associations may mitigate such detrimental effects. However, the mechanisms by which arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi control SAR-induced impacts on Torreya grandis plants remain unclear. A pot experiment was conducted on T. grandis seedlings, an economically important tree species in Southern China, in which inoculated and non-inoculated T. grandis seedlings were subjected to three simulated SAR regimes (pH of 5.6, 4.0, and 2.5, respectively) to examine the effects on the growth, osmotic regulation, and nutrient absorption of these seedlings. The results show that, although SAR had no effect on the accumulation of biomass, it significantly decreased the concentrations of proline and soluble protein, shoot Zn2+, P, K+, and Ca2+ concentrations, and the Fe2+ and Mn2+ concentrations of shoots and roots. Mycorrhizal inoculation, especially with Rhizophagus irregularis, significantly increased total biomass, proline concentration, and the Zn2+, P, and K+ concentrations in the shoots of T. grandis under lower pH conditions. Moreover, our findings suggest that the combination of root colonization, acid tolerance, and the concentrations of shoot-P, shoot-Zn2+, and root-Fe2+ of T. grandis jointly conferred mycorrhizal benefits on the plants under SAR conditions. Given the enhancement of the nutritional quality of T. grandis owing to mycorrhizal associations, inoculation with R. irregularis may be preferable for the culturing and management of these plants under acidic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Review

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Review
The Role of Fungi in the Cocoa Production Chain and the Challenge of Climate Change
J. Fungi 2021, 7(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7030202 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
Background: The role of fungi in cocoa crops is mainly associated with plant diseases and contamination of harvest with unwanted metabolites such as mycotoxins that can reach the final consumer. However, in recent years there has been interest in discovering other existing interactions [...] Read more.
Background: The role of fungi in cocoa crops is mainly associated with plant diseases and contamination of harvest with unwanted metabolites such as mycotoxins that can reach the final consumer. However, in recent years there has been interest in discovering other existing interactions in the environment that may be beneficial, such as antagonism, commensalism, and the production of specific enzymes, among others. Scope and approach: This review summarizes the different fungi species involved in cocoa production and the cocoa supply chain. In particular, it examines the presence of fungal species during cultivation, harvest, fermentation, drying, and storage, emphasizing the factors that possibly influence their prevalence in the different stages of production and the health risks associated with the production of mycotoxins in the light of recent literature. Key findings and conclusion: Fungi associated with the cocoa production chain have many different roles. They have evolved in a varied range of ecosystems in close association with plants and various habitats, affecting nearly all the cocoa chain steps. Reports of the isolation of 60 genera of fungi were found, of which only 19 were involved in several stages. Although endophytic fungi can help control some diseases caused by pathogenic fungi, climate change, with increased rain and temperatures, together with intensified exchanges, can favour most of these fungal infections, and the presence of highly aggressive new fungal genotypes increasing the concern of mycotoxin production. For this reason, mitigation strategies need to be determined to prevent the spread of disease-causing fungi and preserve beneficial ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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