In the last decade, there has been an increasing focus on the implementation of plant growth-promoting (PGP) organisms as a sustainable option to compensate for poor soil fertility conditions in developing countries. Trap systems were used in an effort to isolate PGP fungi from rhizospheric soil samples collected in the region around Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With sudangrass as a host, a highly conducive environment was created for sebacinalean chlamydospore formation inside the plant roots resulting in a collection of 51 axenically cultured isolates of the elusive genus Piriformospora (recently transferred to the genus Serendipita). Based on morphological data, ISSR fingerprinting profiles and marker gene sequences, we propose that these isolates together with Piriformospora williamsii constitute a species complex designated Piriformospora (= Serendipita) 'williamsii.' A selection of isolates strongly promoted plant growth of in vitro inoculated Arabidopsis seedlings, which was evidenced by an increase in shoot fresh weight and a strong stimulation of lateral root formation. This isolate collection provides unprecedented opportunities for fundamental as well as translational research on the Serendipitaceae, a family of fungal endophytes in full expansion.
- Integrated soil fertility management
- Plant growth-promoting tropical endophytes
- Species complex
- TEF1α gene