Improved seed germination and plant growth mediated by compounds synthesized by endophytic <em>Aspergillus niger</em> (isolate 29) isolated from <em>Albizia lebbeck</em> (L.) Benth
3 Biotech. 2022 Oct;12(10):271. doi: 10.1007/s13205-022-03332-x. Epub 2022 Sep 11.
Plant-microbe interactions are remarkably diverse and dynamic. These interactions can be in the form of endophytic association. Colonization of endophytic microflora in crop plants improves crop health leading to crop enhancement. They stimulate the overall growth of plants by facilitating nutrient uptake and regulating various hormones. This eventually improves the plant biomass and grain yield. Owing to the assistance of the endophytes to the host plants, augmentation of crop plants with potential fungal endophytes or their extracted bioactive compound can upsurge the overall crop production and provide promising solutions for environmentally sustainable agriculture. In this light, the present study deals with the prospects of bioactive metabolites produced by endophytic fungi in Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth, a medicinal native plant of Rajasthan. The metabolomic analysis of a partially purified extract of Aspergillus niger (isolate 29) showed the presence of a total of 919 compounds using UHPLC-MS/MS. The metabolic pathway analysis revealed that these compounds were influencing super pathway of gibberellin and isoflavonoid biosynthesis. Significant increase in seed germination percentage (73-93%), seed vigour index (834.44-1498.21) and germination index (2.54-3.67 seeds/day) was found in treated seeds compared to untreated. There was a significant improvement in root (45-185%) and shoot length (215-295%) of wheat, barley and millet and a significant increase in root number (38-97%) in wheat and barley. Positive correlation was observed in the growth parameters of all the crops upon treatment. Overall, the results indicated that the partially purified fraction of A. niger (isolate 29) improved seed germination and promoted plant growth in cash crops. The results emphasize towards the importance of secondary metabolites in seed germination and enhancement of plant growth. These results also suggest a probable mutualistic role of endophyte with the host plant.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s13205-022-03332-x.