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- PublicationMechanisms of beneficial colonisation of barley by fungal root endophytesPathogenic fungal infections of barley can lead to costly crop losses. However, not all fungal infections are detrimental, and some are even beneficial. Beneficial root infections often involve symbiotic endophytic fungi. Benefits to barley and other plants infected with endophytic root fungi include an increase in seed yield, enhanced resistance to pathogens and improved stress tolerance. Here, we examine the mechanisms and outcomes of fungal endophyte colonisation of barley roots and briefly discuss reported benefits for the host. The most important factors that determine the nature of the relationship are the specific combination of partner genotypes and developmental stage, and the ecological and environmental setting. The full potential of these organisms is still to be determined and further studies are urgently required to develop specific beneficial root-endophyte associations, or combination of them, that are tailored to barley cultivars for maximum impact in agriculture.