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Isolation of low temperature tolerant beneficial fungal root endophytes of crops

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy

Supervisor: Dr. Trevor Hodkinson

Research topics include beneficial fungal root endophytes; Biofertilisers; Biocontrol; Cereal crops; Fungal growth environmental optima; Microbiota antagonisms; Crop inoculation methods.

There is an increasing chemical load on the environment, partly due to high agri-chemical inputs. More sustainable methods that would reduce chemical use, while still maintaining crop performance, are needed. Bio-control and bio-fertilisation methods are often longer lasting than chemical applications in their effects, can reduce labour time, and are also generally more environmentally friendly. Some groups of endophytic root fungi have recently been shown to increase yield, enhance stress tolerance and induce pathogen resistance in many crop plants. This research will investigate the natural occurrence, diversity and efficacy of fungal root endophytes in a variety of Irish plant species. Competent fungal strains suitable for Irish conditions could be used in various forms for crop inoculation. Irish agriculture could significantly benefit from any positive outcomes from this research, with potential reductions in fungicide, pesticide and fertiliser use. Future global warming may result in altered Irish crop growing conditions, and this area of research could therefore become increasingly relevant. Co-supervised by Fiona Doohan (UCD).This research is being funded by TCD.

Last updated 3 October 2014