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Title: Fungal endophytes in green coffee seeds

item Vega, Fernando
item Posada-Florez, Francisco
item Aime, Mary
item Peterson, Stephen
item Rehner, Stephen

Submitted to: Mycosystema
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2007
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
Citation: Vega, F.E., Posada, F.J., Aime, M.C., Peterson, S.W., Rehner, S.A. 2008. Fungal endophytes in green coffee seeds. Mycosystema. 27:75-84.

Interpretive Summary: The coffee berry borer is the most devastating pest of coffee throughout the world. The borer deposits its eggs inside coffee berries, and the larval (immature) stages feed on the coffee seed, severely reducing yields. One novel mechanism to manage this insect involves studies aimed at inoculating coffee plants with fungi that will attack the insect and destroy it inside the seed without harming the berry. We have conducted a survey of fungi that occur naturally inside various tissues in coffee plants, and have identified several fungi occurring inside coffee seeds. It is not clear what role these fungi might be playing in the biology of the seed. This finding will be of use to coffee scientists, mycologists, entomologists, and the coffee industry in the search for methods to reduce losses caused by the coffee berry borer.

Technical Abstract: Green coffee seeds from Colombia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, and Vietnam were sampled for the presence of fungal endophytes. Sections of surface sterilized seeds were plated on yeast malt agar, and fungal growth was isolated for subsequent DNA extraction and sequencing. Several fungal genera were isolated, including Acremonium, Aspergillus, Eurotium, Fusarium, Gibberella, Penicillium, Pseudozyma, and an undescribed clavicipitaceous species. The role that these fungi might be playing in the biology of the seed or the coffee plant remains unknown.