Aims: The goal of the study was to apply Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy followed be chemometrical data treatment for the differentiation of fungi-infected perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) from non-infected grass.
Methods: FTIR was used to rapidly discriminate between leaves of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) infected by a fungal endophyte (Epichloë; asexual forms: Neotyphodium) and uninfected leaves. Besides drying and grinding of the sampled leaves, no other preparation steps were needed. FTIR measurements were performed in the attenuated total reflection (ATR) mode. Aliquots of powdered leaf samples were placed on a ZnSe crystal and the spectra collected followed by chemometrical analysis (multidimensional factor analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis).
Important Findings: ATR-FTIR allowed a rapid detection of fungal infections in the plant material and proved to be a fast and reliable tool for the differentiation of the plant biomass without the need of time-consuming sample preparation.