Abstract: Endophytes are any non-pathogenic bacteria or fungi that live inside another organism in a mutualistic relationship (Stone 2000). Endophytic fungi can produce a variety of alkaloids that deter herbivorous grazing, as well as reducing the effect of other abiotic stresses such as drought (Nagabhyru et. al. 2013). If such a drought tolerant fungi were to be found, it is possible plants in the same family may be inoculated with the fungi conferring drought resistant properties to those plants. The purpose of this study is to determine if endophytic fungi can be isolated and characterized from the native Arizonan species Silver Leaved Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium). S. elaeagnifolium leaf tissue was first soaked in commassie blue dye to locate potential endophytes inside the leaf tissue. After accessing there were fungi in the leaves, an experiment was carried out using sterilized S. elaeagnifolium leaf tissue on varied types of media to find the media type best for growing S. elaeagnifolium endophytes. Leaves from S. elaeagnifolium were cut into small chunks and placed on three types of potato dextrose agar, one containing chloramphenicol antibiotics, one with both rose bengal dye and streptomycin and the last with rose bengal dye and chloramphenicol (Bacon and White, 1994). After transfer to PDA without controls, fungal spore and mycelium samples were stained using lactophenol cotton blue dye to facilitate the detection of fungal hyphae and spores microscopically (Leck, 1999).
It was determined that it is possible to extract endopytic fungi from the plant S. elaegnifolium. The extracted fungi was determined to be a member of the Alternaria genus and could possibly have a life cycle that alternates between that of an endophyte and a saphrobe. (Arnold, 2017 private communication) It was also shown that all types of media allow for the growth of endophytic fungi.