Three-way fungal interactions affect the potential biological control of Himalayan balsam, Impatiens glandulifera

Nadia Ab Razak, Alan Gange, Amanda Currie, Brian C. Sutton, Asyraf Mansor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is one of the most invasive weeds across Europe. The rust fungus, Puccinia komarovii var. glanduliferae has been introduced as a biological control agent, but success has been patchy. Here, we investigated whether mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi can affect rust efficacy and plant growth. Over three experiments we found that AM fungi and the rust alone or together consistently reduced plant growth, but this depended on the identity of species in the AM inoculum. Meanwhile, AM fungi increased infection frequency of the endophyte Colletotrichum acutatum. Rust inoculation had no detrimental effects on mycorrhizal colonisation or C. acutatum infection, but the latter two fungi reduced rust sporulation. However, plant size was reduced when all three fungal types were present, suggesting that a combined fungal inoculum offers a promising approach for the control of this weed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalWeed Research
Issue number2
Early online date9 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • endophyte
  • invasive species
  • plant pathogen
  • rust fungus

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