Abstract— A group of 126 endophytic fungi was isolated from dragon fruit plants in Malaysia. Dual culture and disc diffusion test revealed that seven strains could suppress the growth of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Of all the potential strains, strain T3.3 exhibited the best antagonistic activity by producing an inhibition zone of 12±1.0 mm in dual culture test. Disc diffusion test using crude extract produced by this fungus could inhibit the growth of C.gloeosporioides by 33.33±2.89%. The diffused non volatile metabolite produced by this strain suppressed the growth of the pathogen by 97% after 7 days of incubation. Based on morphological characteristics and ITS region sequence, strain T3.3 was identified as Penicillium oxalicum. The carbon utilization profile in Biolog FF Microplate analysis revealed that P.oxalicum T3.3 is a versatile microorganism. P.oxalicum T3.3 was found to produce β-glucanase and chitinase with activity of 3.38 U/mL and 1.19 U/mL respectively. In addition, the ethylacetate extract of P.oxalicum T3.3 could suppress the growth of C.gloeosporioides. Scanning electron microscopy study showed that the release of extracellular antifungal metabolites from the endophytic P.oxalicum T3.3 had caused abnormal hyphal growth of C.gloeosporioides. Treatment with the crude extract from this fungus on dragon fruit could control anthracnose disease in this fruit in vivo. Thus, endophytic Penicillium oxalicum T3.3 is considered as a potential biological control agent of anthracnose disease in dragon fruit.
Keywords— Antifungal, dragon fruit, endophytic fungi, Penicilium oxalicum.
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