The plant growth-promoting potential of the mesophilic wood-rot mushroom Pleurotus pulmonarius

M. T. Pham, C. M. Huang, R. Kirschner

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Aims: To demonstrate the plant growth-promoting potential of a wood-decay mushroom. Methods and Results: A wild strain of a white rot fungus (Pleurotus pulmonarius) was found to convert 10 mmol l−1 L-tryptophan (TRP) to approximately 15 μg ml−1 indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) under the optimal growth conditions of 30°C and pH 5 for 15 days. Results of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry indicated IAA synthesis through the indole-3-pyruvic acid pathway when using cellulose as a sole carbon source. The mycelium as well as the culture filtrate promoted the growth and chlorophyll content of seedlings. In a monocotyledonous plant (rice), the number of lateral roots was increased experimentally, whereas in a dicotyledonous plant (tomato), the fungus led to an increased length of shoots and roots. Conclusions: TRP-dependent IAA production was demonstrated for the first time for P. pulmonarius and may be responsible for enhancing plant growth in vitro. Significance and Impact of the Study: Synthesis of IAA as the most prevalent phytohormone in plants has been demonstrated for soil microfungi. Pleurotus pulmonarius is reported as an IAA-producing wood-decay macrofungus. The higher temperature optimum of P. pulmonarius isolated from subtropical environment compared to other Pleurotus species from temperate regions makes it more suitable for application in subtropical/tropical regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1171
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • L-tryptophan
  • Pleurotus pulmonarius
  • indole-3-acetic acid
  • plant growth-promoting micro-organisms
  • wood-rot fungus


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