Summary: The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences12
They hide inside leaves, living silently and invisibly,
only revealing themselves when forced to grow on a
laboratory agar plate. Then they burst forth, their silvery,
threadlike growth expanding into a nimbus of unexpected color.
Endophytic fungi are among the world's least understood plant-
associated fungi, living within leaves and stems without causing
disease. These tiny fungi are found in trees, grasses, crop plants
and shrubs all the way from arctic tundra to tropical rainforests,
but only recently have their diversity, potential benefits for plants
and applications in biotechnology been discovered and explored.
That potential is vast and untapped.
"What's really remarkable about these fungi is that they live
inside plants without harming their hosts, and in many cases
protect those plants against invasive pathogens," says Betsy
Arnold, an assistant professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences, and curator of the Robert L. Gilbertson Mycological
"Think about that when you see green leaves--or woody trunks