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Employing foliar endophytes as biocontrol agents 2010

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Project Leaders: Taryn Bauerle, Horticulture, Cornell University

Abstract: Foliar fungal endophytes are microscopic fungi present in all plant species. These organisms can reduce pest feeding on plant hosts through the production of unpalatable chemicals. Endophyte-host effects have lead to the employment of fungal endophytes as biocontrols in grasses by successfully reducing pest loads while increasing host growth. However, utilization of endophytes in woody plants is in the nascent stages. Research is needed to identify which endophytes are present and how they reduce pest damage on important ornamental and horticultural plants. The proposed research is foundational for the effective use of fungal endophytes in integrated pest management.