Endophytic fungi associated with desert plants have a crucial role to enable these plants to tolerate abiotic stress, such as heat and drought.
In this study, a thermophilic fungal endophyte was isolated from a hot desert-adapted plant, Cullen plicata Delile. The endophytic fungus was (molecularly) identified as Thermomyces lanuginosus, and inoculated plants were coded as E+ and the control as E−.
This fungus had an effective growth-promoting activity on its host plant and increased the plant resistance to heat stress as well.
Our findings demonstrate that thermophilic fungal endophytes can enhance drought and heat stress tolerance in desert plants by ecophysiological mechanisms and improve growth of its host plants.