Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL4. More information.

Wei Zhang

Doctor of Philosophy, (Plant Science)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Investigating endophyte transmission in Poaceae hosts

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Epichloë endophytes are agriculturally important fungi that colonise the aerial tissues of a range of grasses. Plants colonised by suitable strains of Epichloë have superior protection from insect attack, drought, and other stresses. The endophyte is transmitted from an infected plant to its progeny via the seeds, but the commercial development and sale of seed lines carrying the endophyte is often hindered by failure of the transmission process. Ms Zhang studied the biology of endophyte transmission from flower primordia to the ovaries, and mechanisms promoting or impeding transmission. She found that endophyte occupied ovary tissues prior to fertilisation and that consumption of the sugar trehalose correlated most closely with endophyte death during seed aging post-harvest. For endophyte genotypes with high transmission capability, hyphae tended to be more prolific in grass tissues, and genes promoting salicylic acid production tended to be significantly repressed, while genes involved in jasmonic acid production were induced.

Professor Cory Matthew
Dr Stuart Card
Mr Craig McGill