New species and records of Trichoderma isolated as mycoparasites and endophytes from cultivated and wild coffee in Africa

Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 11;11(1):5671. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-84111-1.


A survey for species of the genus Trichoderma occurring as endophytes of Coffea, and as mycoparasites of coffee rusts (Hemileia), was undertaken in Africa; concentrating on Cameroon and Ethiopia. Ninety-four isolates of Trichoderma were obtained during this study: 76 as endophytes of healthy leaves, stems and berries and, 18 directly from colonized rust pustules. A phylogenetic analysis of all isolates used a combination of three genes: translation elongation factor-1α (tef1), rpb2 and cal for selected isolates. GCPSR criteria were used for the recognition of species; supported by morphological and cultural characters. The results reveal a previously unrecorded diversity of Trichoderma species endophytic in both wild and cultivated Coffea, and mycoparasitic on Hemileia rusts. Sixteen species were delimited, including four novel taxa which are described herein: T. botryosum, T. caeruloviride, T. lentissimum and T. pseudopyramidale. Two of these new species, T. botryosum and T. pseudopyramidale, constituted over 60% of the total isolations, predominantly from wild C. arabica in Ethiopian cloud forest. In sharp contrast, not a single isolate of Trichoderma was obtained using the same isolation protocol during a survey of coffee in four Brazilian states, suggesting the existence of a 'Trichoderma void' in the endophyte mycobiota of coffee outside of Africa. The potential use of these African Trichoderma isolates in classical biological control, either as endophytic bodyguards-to protect coffee plants from Hemileia vastatrix, the fungus causing coffee leaf rust (CLR)-or to reduce its impact through mycoparasitism, is discussed, with reference to the on-going CLR crisis in Central America.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Biodiversity
  • Coffea / growth & development*
  • Coffea / parasitology*
  • Endophytes / cytology
  • Endophytes / isolation & purification*
  • Forests
  • Parasites / cytology
  • Parasites / isolation & purification*
  • Phylogeny
  • Species Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trichoderma / cytology
  • Trichoderma / isolation & purification*