SYSTEMATICS OF MICROFUNGI USED IN BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF PLANT DISEASES
Project Number: 1275-22000-253-00
Start Date: Jun 12, 2007
End Date: Feb 02, 2009
Provide a phylogenetic framework for potential biological control fungi in Trichoderma and Hypocrea in order to predict biocontrol ability from among unknown strains or species. Develop a taxonomy and compare endophytic and non-endophytic strains of species of microfungi, especially those in the taxonomically difficult genera Colletotrichum and Phomopsis.
Conduct molecular systematics of insect-associated pathogenic fungi such as Metarhizium and Beauveria.
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.