Submitted to: Mycological Progress
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Chaves, F.C., Gianfagna, T.J., Aneja, M., Posada, F., Peterson, S.W., Vega, F.E. 2012. Aspergillus oryzae NRRL 35191 from coffee, a non-toxigenic endophyte with the ability to synthesize kojic acid. Mycological Progress. 11:263-267. Interpretive Summary: The development of sustainable and environmentally-friendly methods for pest management is of utmost importance for agriculture. The uses of fungi that naturally occur inside plant tissues are currently being explored as one such possible method. Aspergillus oryzae, a non-toxigenic fungus isolated from the internal tissues of coffee plants, was successfully established inside cacao plants. Aspergillus oryzae inoculated cacao plants were found to produce kojic acid and caffeine, which are known to be part of the defensive mechanisms against insects and fungal pathogens. This finding, which could lead to an innovative way to manage insect pests and diseases, will be of interest to mycologists, entomologists, and the coffee and cocoa industry.
Technical Abstract: Aspergillus oryzae was isolated as an endophyte from coffee leaves and found to produce kojic acid in culture. When inoculated in cacao seedlings (Theobroma cacao L.), A. oryzae grew endophytically and synthesize kojic acid in planta. Cacao seedlings inoculated with A. oryzae produced higher levels of caffeine than non-inoculated ones. Aspergillus oryzae may be a useful endophyte to introduce to cacao since it grows non-pathogenically and induces the caffeine defense response that may make the plant more resistant to insects and diseases.