Evaluation of endophyte toxin production and its interaction with transgenic perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) with altered expression of fructosyltransferases Academic Article uri icon


  • Alkaloid concentration of perennial ryegrass herbage is affected by endophyte strain and host plant genotype. However, previous studies suggest that associations between host and endophyte also depends on environmental conditions, especially those affecting nutrient reserves and that water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentration of perennial ryegrass plants may influence grass-endophyte associations. In this study a single transgenic event, with altered expression of fructosyltransferase genes to produce high WSC and biomass, has been crossed into a range of cultivar backgrounds with varying Epichloë endophyte strains. The effect of the association between the transgenic trait and alkaloid production was assessed and compared with transgene free control populations. In the vast-majority of comparisons there was no significant difference between alkaloid concentrations of transgenic and non-transgenic plants within the same cultivar and endophyte backgrounds. There was no significant difference between GOI+ (gene of interest positive) and GOI- (gene of interest negative) populations in Janthritrem response. Peramine concentration was not different between GOI+ and GOI- for 10 of the 12 endophytes-cultivar combinations. Cultivar Trojan infected with NEA6 and Alto with SE (standard endophyte) exhibited higher peramine and lolitrem B (only for Alto SE) concentration, in the control GOI- compared with GOI+. Similarly, cultivar Trojan infected with NEA6 and Alto with NEA3 presented higher ergovaline concentration in GOI-. Differences in alkaloid concentration may be attributable to an indirect effect in the modulation of fungal biomass. These results conclude that the presence of this transgenic insertion, does not alter the risk (toxicity) of the endophyte-grass associations. Endophyte-host interactions are complex and further research into associations with high WSC plant should be performed in a case by case basis.

publication date

  • 2018