Fallopia japonica (Polygonaceae), or Japanese knotweed, is now spreading globally, causing serious problems in Europe and North America in both natural and urban habitats. There is an urgent need for alternative management solutions, and classical biological control, using coevolved natural enemies found in the native range, is currently being investigated. Here, we isolated fungal endophytes from F. japonica in Japan, its natural habitat, to find endophytes that might increase the virulence of a coevolved rust pathogen, Puccinia polygoni-amphibii var. tovariae. A total of 1581 fungal endophytes were recovered from F. japonica and classified into 15 taxa. Five genera (Colletotrichum, Pestalotiopsis, Phoma, Phomopsis, and Alternaria) were dominant as endophytes in F. japonica. A greenhouse study of the dominant endophyte-pathogen interactions revealed three types of reactions: suppressive, synergistic, and neutral. In particular, one Phomopsis isolate - closely related to Diaporthe medusaea, based on ITS sequences - promoted the pathogenic aggressiveness of P. polygoni-amphibii var. tovariae and, therefore, this interaction is potentially useful to increase the effectiveness of the rust fungus as a biological control agent of F. japonica in its invasive range.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Infectious Diseases