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: closed (1 November 2021) | Viewed by 11500

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
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
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 Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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

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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 (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Harnessing Endophytic Fungi for Enhancing Growth, Tolerance and Quality of Rose-Scented Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens (L’Hér) Thunb.) Plants under Cadmium Stress: A Biochemical Study
J. Fungi 2021, 7(12), 1039; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7121039 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
Heavy metal contamination in soil is increasing rapidly due to increasing anthropogenic activities. Despite the importance of rose-scented geranium as a medicinal plant, little attention was paid to enhancing its productivity in heavy metal-polluted soil. In this regard, endophytes improve plant resistance to [...] Read more.
Heavy metal contamination in soil is increasing rapidly due to increasing anthropogenic activities. Despite the importance of rose-scented geranium as a medicinal plant, little attention was paid to enhancing its productivity in heavy metal-polluted soil. In this regard, endophytes improve plant resistance to heavy metal toxicity and enhance its tissue quality. Here, the impact of the three endophytic fungi Talaromyces versatilis (E6651), Emericella nidulans (E6658), and Aspergillus niger (E6657) on geranium growth, tolerance, and tissue quality under cadmium (Cd) stress was investigated. In contrast to E. nidulans, T. versatilis and A. niger enhanced geranium growth and the stimulatory effect was more pronounced under Cd-stress. The three endophytes significantly alleviated Cd accumulation and increased mineral content in geranium leaves. In addition, endophytic fungi successfully alleviated Cd-induced membrane damage and reinforced the antioxidant defenses in geranium leaves. Inoculation with endophytes stimulated all the antioxidant enzymes under Cd-stress, and the response was more obvious in the case of T. versatilis and A. niger. To reduce the toxicity of tissue-Cd levels, T. versatilis and A. niger upregulated the detoxification mechanisms; glutathione-S-transferase, phytochelatin, and metallothionein levels. Moreover, endophytic fungi improved the medicinal value and quality of geranium by increasing total antioxidant capacity (TAC), phenolic compound biosynthesis (phenylalanine ammonia-lyase), and vitamin content as well as the quantity and quality of essential oil, particularly under Cd-stress conditions. The variation in the mechanisms modulated by the different endophytic fungi was supported by Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Overall, this study provided fundamental insights into endophytes’ impact as a feasible strategy to mitigate the phytotoxicity hazards of Cd-stress in geranium and enhance its quality, based on the growth and biochemical investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Improved Mineral Acquisition, Sugars Metabolism and Redox Status after Mycorrhizal Inoculation Are the Basis for Tolerance to Vanadium Stress in C3 and C4 Grasses
J. Fungi 2021, 7(11), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7110915 - 27 Oct 2021
Viewed by 781
Abstract
Vanadium (V) can be beneficial or toxic to plant growth and the interaction between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and V stress was rarely investigated at physiological and biochemical levels of plant groups (C3 and C4) and organs (roots and shoots). We tested the [...] Read more.
Vanadium (V) can be beneficial or toxic to plant growth and the interaction between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and V stress was rarely investigated at physiological and biochemical levels of plant groups (C3 and C4) and organs (roots and shoots). We tested the potential of AMF to alleviate the negative effects of V (350 mg V/Kg soil) on shoots and roots of rye and sorghum. Relative to sorghum (C4), rye (C3) showed higher levels of V and lower levels of key elements under V stress conditions. V inhibited growth, photosynthesis, and induced photorespiration (increased HDR & GO activities) and oxidative damage in both plants. AMF colonization reduced V stress by differently mitigating the oxidative stress in rye and sorghum. This mitigation was accompanied with increases in acid and alkaline phosphatase activities in plant roots and increased organic acids and polyphenols exudation into the soil, thus reduced V accumulation (29% and 58% in rye and sorghum shoot, respectively) and improved absorption of mineral nutrients including Ca, Mg and P. AMF colonization improved photosynthesis and increased the sugar accumulation and metabolism. Sugars also acted as a supplier of C skeletons for producing of antioxidants metabolite such as ascorbate. At the antioxidant level, rye was more responsive to the mitigating impact of AMF. Higher antioxidants and detoxification defence system (MTC, GST, phenolics, tocopherols and activities of CAT, SOD and POX) was recorded for rye, while sorghum (C4) improved its GR activity. The C3/C4-specificity was supported by principal component analysis. Together, this study provided both fundamental and applied insights into practical strategies to mitigate the phytotoxicity hazards of V in C3 and C4 grasses. Moreover, our results emphasize the importance of AMF as an environment-friendly factor to alleviate stress effects on plants and to improve growth and yield of unstressed plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Effect of High-Temperature Stress on Plant Physiological Traits and Mycorrhizal Symbiosis in Maize Plants
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100867 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 804
Abstract
Increasing high temperature (HT) has a deleterious effect on plant growth. Earlier works reported the protective role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) under stress conditions, particularly influencing the physiological parameters. However, the protective role of AMF under high-temperature stress examining physiological parameters with [...] Read more.
Increasing high temperature (HT) has a deleterious effect on plant growth. Earlier works reported the protective role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) under stress conditions, particularly influencing the physiological parameters. However, the protective role of AMF under high-temperature stress examining physiological parameters with characteristic phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) of soil microbial communities including AMF has not been studied. This work aims to study how high-temperature stress affects photosynthetic and below-ground traits in maize plants with and without AMF. Photosynthetic parameters like quantum yield of photosystem (PS) II, PSI, electron transport, and fractions of open reaction centers decreased in HT exposed plants, but recovered in AMF + HT plants. AMF + HT plants had significantly higher AM-signature 16:1ω5cis neutral lipid fatty acid (NLFA), spore density in soil, and root colonization with lower lipid peroxidation than non-mycorrhizal HT plants. As a result, enriched plants had more active living biomass, which improved photosynthetic efficiency when exposed to heat. This study provides an understanding of how AM-mediated plants can tolerate high temperatures while maintaining the stability of their photosynthetic apparatus. This is the first study to combine above- and below-ground traits, which could lead to a new understanding of plant and rhizosphere stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Transcriptome Analysis Revealed Plant Hormone Biosynthesis and Response Pathway Modification by Epichloëgansuensis in Achnatheruminebrians under Different Soil Moisture Availability
J. Fungi 2021, 7(8), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7080640 - 06 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1075
Abstract
The present study was designed to explore the effects of the endophyte Epichloë gansuensis on gene expression related to plant hormone biosynthesis and response pathways and the content of salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) hormones of Achnatherum inebrians, under different [...] Read more.
The present study was designed to explore the effects of the endophyte Epichloë gansuensis on gene expression related to plant hormone biosynthesis and response pathways and the content of salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) hormones of Achnatherum inebrians, under different moisture conditions. Through a pot experiment and transcriptome analysis, we found a total of 51 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to hormone biosynthesis and response pathways, including 12 auxin related genes, 8 cytokinin (CTK) related genes, 3 gibberellin (GA) related genes, 7 abscisic acid (ABA) related genes, 7 ethylene (ET) related genes, 12 JA related genes and 4 SA related genes. Furthermore, key genes of JA and SA biosynthesis and response pathways, such as LOX2S, AOS, OPR, ACX, JMT, JAZ, PAL, NPR1, TGA and PR-1, showed different degrees of upregulation or downregulation. Under 60% soil moisture content, the JA content of endophyte-free (EF) A. inebrians was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of endophyte-infected (EI) A. inebrians. Under 30% and 60% soil moisture content, the SA content of EF A. inebrians was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of EI A. inebrians. SA content of EI A. inebrians under 30% and 60% soil moisture content was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that under 15% soil moisture content. With both EI and EF plants, the SA and JA levels, respectively, are very similar at 15% soil moisture content. This study has revealed that E. gansuensis differentially activated plant hormone synthesis and signal transduction pathways of A. inebrians plants under different soil moisture availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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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
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1508
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
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1134
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
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1020 | Correction
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, low P stress increased C content of leaves of E+ Achnatherum inebrians compared to 0.5 mM P; Epichloë gansuensis increased K content of leaves compared to the leaf of E− plant at 0.01 mM P and 0.5 mM P. Epichloë gansuensis 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
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 860
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 6 | Viewed by 1865
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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Other

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Correction
Correction: Liu et al. 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, 390
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100813 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 434
Abstract
Error in Figure [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Climate Change on Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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