Influence of fungal infection on plant tissues: FTIR detects compositional changes to plant cell walls

Yiing Yng Chow, Adeline Su Yien Ting

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    Compositional change in plant cell walls as a result of infection by non-host (putative) endophytes and a host pathogen were studied by quantifying plant cell wall degrading enzymes (CWDEs) produced by these fungi, and by detecting cell wall changes via Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and relative lignin/carbohydrate intensity ratios. Oil palm ramets were first inoculated with homogenized fungal suspension. The treated fungal suspensions were assayed for CWDEs whereas the ramets were powderized for FTIR analysis. Results revealed that putative endophytes and host pathogen expressed all CWDEs, suggesting their probable roles in infection and colonization. Following inoculation, plant cell wall composition showed missing dips in spectra depicting changes to carbohydrate, xylan and lignin constituents. The indistinguishable FTIR spectra for putative endophyte-inoculated and pathogen-inoculated ramets suggest that both endophytes and pathogen have elicited similar responses to plant cell walls. Relative lignin/carbohydrate ratios further demonstrated that the putative endophytes did not breakdown lignin and carbohydrate, further exemplifying the non-pathogenic and asymptomatic infection by the endophytes. This study presents the influence of putative endophytes on plant tissues of oil palm, and how this compared to pathogenic infection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)38-47
    Number of pages10
    JournalFungal Ecology
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


    • Cell wall
    • Colonization
    • Detection
    • Endophytes
    • FTIR
    • Ganoderma boninense

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