The temperate pasture grass Lolium perenne L. is commonly found in symbiotic association with the asexual fungal endophyte Neotyphodium lolii. Levels of endophyte colonisation and alkaloid content were evaluated in associations formed by plant genotypes from cv. Bronsyn with the standard endophyte (SE) and five distinct commercial endophyte strains. Bronsyn–SE produced all of the measured alkaloids (lolitrem B, peramine, and ergovaline). Bronsyn–AR1 produced only peramine, while Bronsyn–AR37 produced none of the tested alkaloids. Bronsyn–NEA2, Bronsyn–NEA3, and Bronsyn–NEA6 produced both ergovaline and peramine. Both endophyte strain and host genotype exerted significant effects on alkaloid production. Analysis of endophyte colonisation using qPCR revealed differences between each association. With the exception of Bronsyn–AR1 and Bronsyn–NEA3, host genotype also significantly affected colonisation levels. Phenotypic performance of each association was also assessed, based on measurement of morphological traits under glasshouse conditions in hydroponic culture. Significant variation due to different endophyte and host genotypes was observed. Collectively, these studies confirm that differences in both endophyte and host genotypes contribute to host–endophyte performance in a complex interactive manner.
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Vol. 64 • No. 7