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Morpho-molecular taxonomic studies reveal a high number of endophytic fungi from Magnolia candolli and M. garrettii in China and Thailand

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Endophytic fungi are internal inhabitants of plant tissues that do not apparently cause harm to the host. Ecologically they provide a number of benefits to the plants by decreasing herbivory, increasing drought and disease resistance and enhancing the growth of plants. Endophytes have emerged as an exciting research topic as they have the potential to provide numerous metabolites with different biological activities. This study is focused on taxonomic novelties and new host or geographical records of endophytic fungi associated with Magnolia candolli collected from Yunnan Province, China and M. garrettii from Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. Magnolia plants are economically important and used in furniture, ornamental plants in gardens, temple trees, flowers for decorations and valuable medicine in China. In this study, 56 fungal endophytic isolates were obtained from Magnolia species, of which 54 belong to ascomycetes and two to basidiomycetes. The 56 endophytic fungal isolates were identified in 31 taxa that are distributed in eight orders, ten families, 13 genera, including eight new species (Colletotrichum chiangmaiense, C. xishuangbannaense, Coprinellus magnolia, Diaporthe chinensis, Epicoccum endophyticum, Letendraea magnoliae, Nigrospora magnoliae and Pestalotiopsis endophytica) and 23 new host and or geographical records. The results indicate that members of Sordariomycetes are dominant groups of endophytic fungi in Magnolia candolli and M. garrettii. Considering the total fungal endophytic isolates from Magnolia candolli and M. garrettii, Sordariomycetes comprises the the highest number of isolates of 82%, following Dothideomycetes 14% and Agaricomycetes 4%. Detailed morphological descriptions, micrographs and phylogenetic analyses are provided to show the placement of the novel taxa.

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