Penicillium verruculosum RS7PF: A root fungal endophyte associated with an ethno-medicinal plant of the indigenous tribes of Eastern India


R. K. Bhagobaty, S. R. Joshi* and R. Kumar

Potentilla fulgens L., an ethno-medicinal plant of the ethnic tribes of Meghalaya in the Eastern Himalayan range of India was screened for root fungal endophytes. This plant is distributed in the wild habitats and in the traditionally preserved ‘Sacred Groves’ of Meghalaya in Eastern India, which is of late getting over-exploited for its medicinal value. Isolation of endophytes in water agar plates yielded a unique fungus that had similar morphological characteristics with the members of the genus Talaromyces. Scanning and transmission electron microscopic studies of the fungus revealed its surface morphological features, close association and extensive colonization of plant root tissues. Molecular characterization using fungal specific 18S rRNA primers showed that the fungus shared a 98% homology with Penicillium verruculosum (Genbank accession number AF510496). The isolate investigated is likely to be a novel endophytic strain of P. verruculosum which has evolved a very close symbiotic association with the host plant roots. The fungal endophyte characterized is being explored as an early colonizer in the establishment of seedlings and successful micropropagation of the plant.

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