Endophytes for increased productivity


Endophytes are micro-organisms (including fungi) located within healthy functional plant tissue.

Some root endophytes promote plant growth, for example via improved nutrition, increased photosynthetic efficiency, increased tolerance to abiotic stress.

The opportunity is to identify outstanding root endophytes that give long-term growth promotion in Pinus radiata.


Screen root endophytic fungi from the Lincoln University Bio-Protection Research Centre culture collection for growth promotion of P. radiata.

Select best performing isolates for long-term evaluation: nursery, - plantation - life of crop.

Inoculation of best isolates in cost-effective practical manner for industry (e.g. seed coating).

Mass production of pure cultured inoculum of best root endophytes (e.g. Trichoderma – sporulate freely, stable, rapid growth, easy to produce).

Research Costs

The major cost will be one full-time research technician for screening and testing to select the best isolates.

The cost for this project including supervision and materials would be approximately $150K/year (2–5 years depending on progress).

Potential Benefits

We have identified several promising isolates in preliminary growth-promotion assays with P. radiata.

High probability of successful outcome.

A similar approach with plantation forestry in SE Asia has resulted in increased growth of 3-15% for trees up to 4 years old (10-45% increase in wood volume).

Assuming a 5% growth promotion in P. radiata, wood volume would increase by 16%.

Possible reduction in rotation time.

Growth promotion screens with P. radiata will include >500 new isolates of root endophytes (e.g Sequoiadendron giganteum, Christchurch Botanical Gardens at left) from healthy plants and >1000 isolates in the Lincoln University culture collection.  
       +Endophyte                -Endophyte

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