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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Mycota associated to native Hevea spp. in the Brazilian Amazon region

PI: Aristóteles Góes-Neto (Centro de Excelência em Bioinformática, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz--Fiocruz)
U.S. Partner: Priscila Chaverri (University of Maryland, College Park)
Project Dates: August 2013 to August 2016
2-503 Plants
This project expects to characterize the mycota associated with the socially important and economically valuable rubber trees in the Brazilian Amazon region. The project will focus on characterizing endophytic and saprophytic fungi that naturally occur in Brazil and compare to fungal diversity in another region of Amazon basin, the Peruvian Amazon. The idea is to corroborate the hypothesis that suggests that fungal endophytes have coevolved with their host plants to protect them from natural enemies.
The endophytic fungi associated with native rubber trees occurring in the Brazilian Amazon can be utilized in biological control of Microcyclus ulei, the agent of South American leaf blight, which is the scourge of rubber trees. This project can add more aggregated value to this important tree of the Amazonian forests, reinforcing the need to avoid the potential loss of useful biodiversity due to deforestation and expansion of agricultural and livestock breeding frontiers in the Brazilian Amazon region.

Summary of Recent Activities
The main activity performed from April through June 2016 was the sequencing and molecular identification of fungal strains from the leaves and sapwood of rubber tree individuals of Caxiuanã National Forest. By the end of that period, all of the endophytic fungi isolates collected from both parks included in this project (Anavilhanas National Park and Caxiuanã National Forest) had been successfully sequenced and identified. Dr. Goes-Neto and his group are currently analyzing the results and integrating field, wet lab, and dry lab (statistical and ecological analyses) data. They are also writing up their results for publication. In addition, PhD student Demetra Skaltsas and Master’s student Elizabeth Hellman from the lab of U.S. partner Dr. Priscila Chaverri of the University of Maryland visited Brazil beginning July 4. During their stay, they worked with the PI and his students, discussing their data and comparing it with data from the Brazilian group. The project will conclude at the end of August 2016.
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