Novel bioassay to assess antibiotic effects of fungal endophytes on aphids Academic Article uri icon


  • Perennial ryegrass is an important feed base for the dairy and livestock industries around the world. It is often infected with mutualistic fungal endophytes that confer protection to the plant against biotic and abiotic stresses. Bioassays that test their antibiotic effect on invertebrates are varied and range from excised leaves to whole plants. The aim of this study was to design and validate a "high-throughput" in-planta bioassay using 7-day-old seedlings confined in small cups, allowing for rapid assessments of aphid life history to be made while maintaining high replication and treatment numbers. Antibiosis was evaluated on the foliar and the root aphid species; Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko) and Aploneura lentisci (Passerini) feeding on a range of perennial ryegrass-Epichlo├ź festucae var. Lolii endophyte symbiota. As expected, both D. noxia and A. lentisci reared on endophyte-infected plants showed negatively affected life history traits by comparison to non-infected plants. Both species exhibited the highest mortality at the nymphal stage with an average total mortality across all endophyte treatments of 91% and 89% for D. noxia and A. lentisci respectively. Fecundity decreased significantly on all endophyte treatments with an average total reduction of 18% and 16% for D. noxia and A. lentisci respectively by comparison to non-infected plants. Overall, the bioassay proved to be a rapid method of evaluating the insecticidal activity of perennial ryegrass-endophyte symbiota on aphids (nymph mortality could be assessed in as little as 24 and 48 hours for D. noxia and A. lentisci respectively). This rapid and simple approach can be used to benchmark novel grass-endophyte symbiota on a range of aphid species that feed on leaves of plants, however we would caution that it may not be suitable for the assessment of root-feeding aphids, as this species exhibited relatively high mortality on the control as well.


  • Collinson, Nicholas Paul
  • Mann, RC
  • Giri, K
  • Malipatil, Mallik
  • Kaur, Jatinder
  • Spangenberg, German
  • Valenzuela, I

publication date

  • 2020