Diversity of foliar endophytic fungi from the medicinal plant Sapindus saponaria L . and their localization by scanning electron microscopy
Rubin Filho,Celso J
Endophytic fungi inhabit vegetable tissues or organs, without causing them any harm. Endophytes can co-evolve with plant hosts and possess species-specific interactions. They can protect the plant from insect attacks and diseases, and are also able to produce substances of biotechnological interest. In folk medicine, the bark, roots and fruits of Sapindus saponaria is used to produce substances with anxiolytic, astringent, diuretic and expectorant properties, as well as tonics, blood depuratives and cough medicine. This study evaluated the diversity of endophytic fungi present in the leaves of S. saponaria L. and observed the colonization of host plants by endophytes, using light and scanning electron microscopy. We verified that these fungi are found in intercellular and intracellular spaces. The genera of some isolates of S. saponaria were identified mainly by sequencing of ITS region of rDNA and, when possible, also by their microscopic features, as follows: Cochliobolus, Alternaria, Curvularia, Phomopsis, Diaporthe and Phoma. Phylogenetic analysis showed the existence of genetic variability of the genera Phomopsis and Diaporthe and interspecific variation among the Curvularia, Alternaria and Phoma, belonging to family Pleosporaceae.