Diversity of endophytic fungal and bacterial communities in Ilex paraguariensis grown under field conditions

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The composition and diversity of the endophytic community associated with yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) was investigated using culture-depending methods. Fungi were identified based on their micromorphological characteristics and internal transcribed spacer rDNA sequence analysis; for bacteria 16S rDNA sequence analysis was used. Fungal and bacterial diversity did not show significant differences between organ age. The highest fungal diversity was registered during fall season and the lowest in winter. Bacterial diversity was higher in stems and increased from summer to winter, in contrast with leaves, which decreased. The most frequently isolated fungus was Fusarium, followed by Colletotrichum; they were both present in all the sampling seasons and organ types assayed. Actinobacteria represented 57.5 % of all bacterial isolates. The most dominant bacterial taxa were Curtobacterium and Microbacterium. Other bacteria frequently found were Methylobacterium, Sphingomonas, Herbiconiux and Bacillus. Nitrogen fixation and phosphate solubilization activity, ACC deaminase production and antagonism against plant fungal pathogens were assayed in endophytic bacterial strains. In the case of fungi, strains of Trichoderma, Penicillium and Aspergillus were assayed for antagonism against pathogenic Fusarium sp. All microbial isolates assayed showed at least one growth promoting activity. Strains of Bacillus, Pantoea, Curtobacterium, Methylobacterium, Brevundimonas and Paenibacillus had at least two growth-promoting activities, and Bacillus, Paenibacillus and the three endophytic fungi showed high antagonistic activity against Fusarium sp. In this work we have made a wide study of the culturable endophytic community within yerba mate plants and found that several microbial isolates could be considered as potential inoculants useful for improving yerba mate production.


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