FUNGAL ENDOPHYTES OF HIMALAYAN COLD DESERT INDUCES HEAT TOLERANCE IN RICE (ORYZA SATIVA L.)Arpitha P.S., Earanna N., Shivashankara K.S. and Laxman R.H.
The plants growing in cold desert of western Himalaya have inhabited diversified endophytes. These endophytes can provide fitness to plant under harsh environmental situations. In the current study, 22 fungal endophytes isolated from Artemisia and Xerophytic plants growing in the cold desert were screened for thermo-tolerance at different temperature ranges (28, 30 32, 34, 36, 38and 40 oC) under in vitro. The only three isolates viz., A2, A7 and X5 exhibited growth up to 40 oC and identified as Penicilium funiculosum (A2), Ceriporia lacerate (A7) and Endomelanconiopsis endophytica (X5) using ITS region. These endophytes inoculated to rice seedlings and exposed to elevated temperature (45 oC) for 7hr per day for 10 days to study their effect on tolerance of rice to heat stress. The results revealed that endophytes inoculated seedlings showed sustained improvement in shoot and root growth. The E. endophytica was chosen to be the best endophyte to impart heat stress as per Fernandez model. This study suggested that cold desert endophytes could induce heat tolerance in plants.