Discovery of Novel Fungal Species Isolated from Turfgrass Roots in Korea
Haifeng Liu, Hyeongju Choi, Soyoon Park, and Hyunkyu Sang*
Department of Integrative Food, Bioscience and Biotechnology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
Turfgrasses are economically important horticultural crops, which have been utilized by humans to improve the environment for more than 10 centuries. Turfgrasses are widely distributed in landscapes, slopes and sport fields such as golf courses. Fungal endophytes of turfgrasses have been found to play important roles in turfgrass performance and soil conservation, which could lower management inputs. Endophytic fungi are also a resource of novel bioactive compounds with a variety of applications. Consequently, exploring the biodiversity of endophytic fungi of turfgrass is warranted. In this study, a total of 151 endophytic fungal strains were isolated from root samples of turfgrass in a golf course located in Hwasun, South Jeolla Province, Korea. Based on sequence analysis of ITS (internal transcribed spacer) region, these fungal strains were classified into 9 different orders, including Auriculariales, Cladosporiales, Glomerellales, Hypocreales, Magnaporthales, Pleosporales, Polyporales, Sordariales, Trichosporonales, and Xylariales. Among them, the dominant order was Pleosporales. Further identification through morphological characterization and multi-gene phylogenetic analysis discovered 11 previously unexplored novel species in the genera Dactylaria, Lophiostoma, Magnaporthiopsis, Monocillium, Poaceascoma, Stagonospora, Steophoma, and Zopfiella. The findings in this study expand the biodiversity of endophytic fungi, and reveals potential biological resources for turfgrass management and bioactive compound exploitation.