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J. Fungi 2015, 1(3), 384-396; doi:10.3390/jof1030384

The Biological Diversity and Production of Volatile Organic Compounds by Stem-Inhabiting Endophytic Fungi of Ecuador

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
2
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
3
Laboratorio de Biotecnología Vegetal, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito 17 01 21 84, Ecuador
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David S. Perlin
Received: 15 October 2015 / Revised: 5 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 2 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal '-Omics': Is the Best Yet to Come?)
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Abstract

Fungal endophytes colonize every major lineage of land plants without causing apparent harm to their hosts. Despite their production of interesting and potentially novel compounds, endophytes—particularly those inhabiting stem tissues—are still a vastly underexplored component of microbial diversity. In this study, we explored the diversity of over 1500 fungal endophyte isolates collected from three Ecuadorian ecosystems: lowland tropical forest, cloud forest, and coastal dry forest. We sought to determine whether Ecuador’s fungal endophytes are hyperdiverse, and whether that biological diversity is reflected in the endophytes’ chemical diversity. To assess this chemical diversity, we analyzed a subset of isolates for their production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a representative class of natural products. This study yielded a total of 1526 fungal ITS sequences comprising some 315 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), resulting in a non-asymptotic OTU accumulation curve and characterized by a Fisher’s α of 120 and a Shannon Diversity score of 7.56. These figures suggest that the Ecuadorian endophytes are hyperdiverse. Furthermore, the 113 isolates screened for VOCs produced more than 140 unique compounds. These results present a mere snapshot of the remarkable biological and chemical diversity of stem-inhabiting endophytic fungi from a single neotropical country. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; Diaporthales; endophytic fungi; monoterpenoids; neotropics; volatile organic compounds biodiversity; Diaporthales; endophytic fungi; monoterpenoids; neotropics; volatile organic compounds
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rundell, S.M.; Spakowicz, D.J.; Narváez-Trujillo, A.; Strobel, S.A. The Biological Diversity and Production of Volatile Organic Compounds by Stem-Inhabiting Endophytic Fungi of Ecuador. J. Fungi 2015, 1, 384-396.

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