Start Date: Jun 12, 2007
End Date: Feb 02, 2009
Endophytic fungi that occur in leaves and trunks of native and introduced cacao trees and associated soils will be sampled in Peru following a previously developed isolation protocol. These and isolates already obtained from Africa will be used to develop a phylogeny for comparing endophytic Trichoderma with those from soil. Isolates will be characterized and analyzed using both molecular and morphological approaches. In addition these isolates will be assayed for microbial control potential and antibiotic production especially against Moniliophthora species and Phytophthora megakarya, each causing a serious disease of cacao. Non-Trichoderma endophytes will be characterized in a similar manner. Emphasis will be on developing phylogenies for the taxonomically difficult genera Colletotrichum and Phomopsis. Phylogenies of the entomopathogenic fungi Beauvaria Metarhizum, and Paecilomyces will be constructed from nucleic acid sequences.