Endophytic fungi from the roots of horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) and their interactions with the defensive metabolites of the glucosinolate - myrosinase - isothiocyanate system

Zsolt Szucs, Tamás Plaszkó, Zoltán Cziáky, Attila Kiss-Szikszai, Tamás Emri, Regina Bertóti, László Tamás Sinka, Gábor Vasas, Sándor Gonda

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Background: The health of plants is heavily influenced by the intensively researched plant microbiome. The microbiome has to cope with the plant's defensive secondary metabolites to survive and develop, but studies that describe this interaction are rare. In the current study, we describe interactions of endophytic fungi with a widely researched chemical defense system, the glucosinolate - myrosinase - isothiocyanate system. The antifungal isothiocyanates are also of special interest because of their beneficial effects on human consumers. Results: Seven endophytic fungi were isolated from horseradish roots (Armoracia rusticana), from the genera Fusarium, Macrophomina, Setophoma, Paraphoma and Oidiodendron. LC-ESI-MS analysis of the horseradish extract incubated with these fungi showed that six of seven strains could decompose different classes of glucosinolates. Aliphatic, aromatic, thiomethylalkyl and indolic glucosinolates were decomposed by different strains at different rates. SPME-GC-MS measurements showed that two strains released significant amounts of allyl isothiocyanate into the surrounding air, but allyl nitrile was not detected. The LC-ESI-MS analysis of many strains' media showed the presence of allyl isothiocyanate - glutathione conjugate during the decomposition of sinigrin. Four endophytic strains also accepted sinigrin as the sole carbon source. Isothiocyanates inhibited the growth of fungi at various concentrations, phenylethyl isothiocyanate was more potent than allyl isothiocyanate (mean IC50 was 2.30-fold lower). As a control group, ten soil fungi from the same soil were used. They decomposed glucosinolates with lower overall efficiency: six of ten strains had insignificant or weak activities and only three could use sinigrin as a carbon source. The soil fungi also showed lower AITC tolerance in the growth inhibition assay: the median IC50 values were 0.1925mM for endophytes and 0.0899mM for soil fungi. Conclusions: The host's glucosinolates can be used by the tested endophytic fungi as nutrients or to gain competitive advantage over less tolerant species. These activities were much less apparent among the soil fungi. This suggests that the endophytes show adaptation to the host plant's secondary metabolites and that host metabolite specific activities are enriched in the root microbiome. The results present background mechanisms enabling an understanding of how plants shape their microbiome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number85
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 9 2018


  • Endophytes
  • Fungal enzyme
  • Glucosinolate
  • Isothiocyanate
  • Myrosinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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