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Escovopsis parasitism towards the fungus cultivated by lower attine ants

Grant number: 15/15299-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2015
Effective date (End): September 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:André Rodrigues
Grantee:Bruna Cristina Custodio
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


Ants in the tribe Attini share the ability to cultive fungi for food. In this association, the fungus provides nutrients for the colony. In turn, ants provide protection and dispersion of the fungal partner. Fungi in the genus Escovopsis are specific parasites of the fungus cultivated by attine ants. Previous studies have focused on Escovopsis strains infecting the fungus cultivated by leaf-cutting ants, the most derived group within the tribe Attini. However, few studies evaluated the interactions of Escovopsis towards the fungus cultivated by the lower attines. Our research group described the first species of Escovopsis (E. kreiselii) from colonies of lower attine ants, however, the pathogenicity and virulence of E. kreiselii remain unknown. Using in vitro bioassays, we will investigate the specificity and pathogenicity of E. kreiselii and other Escovopsis strains isolated from lower attine colonies. The results of the present study will gather novel information regarding the biology of these important fungi in order to build knowledge about the interaction of Escovopsis and the fungus cultivated by the lower attine ants.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
CUSTODIO, BRUNA CRISTINA; RODRIGUES, ANDRE. Escovopsis kreiselii specialization to its native hosts in the fungiculture of the lower attine ant Mycetophylax morschi. ANTONIE VAN LEEUWENHOEK INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GENERAL AND MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY, v. 112, n. 2, p. 305-317, . (14/24298-1, 15/15299-7)

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