Mycobiology.  2022 Dec;50(6):399-407. 10.1080/12298093.2022.2154044.

Diversity, Distribution, and Host Plant of Endophytic Fungi: A Focus on Korea

  • 1Division of Ecological Applications Research, Bureau of Conservation Research, National Institute of Ecology, Chungnam, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Biology Education, Korea National University of Education, Chungbuk, Republic of Korea


Endophytic fungi occupy inner plant tissues, which results in various interactions between the fungus and host. Studies on endophytic fungi have been conducted in Korea for over 30 years. This paper summarizes the published results of those studies. The endophytic fungi of approximately 132 plant species in Korea have been studied since the 1990s, resulting in over 118 publications. The host plants featured in these studies comprised 3 species of mosses, 34 species of woody plants, and 95 species of herbaceous plants. At the family level, the most studied plants were members of the Poaceae family, covering 18 species. Regionally, these studies were conducted throughout Korea, but over half of the studies were conducted in Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gangwon-do, and Chungcheongnam-do. Relatively few studies have been conducted in a metropolis such as Seoul. We confirmed 5 phyla, 16 classes, 49 orders, 135 families, 305 genera, and 855 taxa of endophytic fungi, excluding Incertae sedis, whose relationship with others are unknown. Most of the endophytic fungi belonged to Ascomycota (93.2%), and a few belonged to Basidiomycota (3.6%). Since the diversity of endophytic fungi differs depending on the host plant, plant tissue, and distribution region, future studies should be conducted on multiple host plants and in various regions. Future studies on endophytic fungi are expected to broaden, including genomics and taxonomic and ecological studies of secondary metabolites.


Diversity; distribution; endophytic fungi; host plant; Korea
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