The needles of Picea glauca (white spruce) and Pinus strobus (white pine) trees infected with toxigenic fungal endophytes contain varying concentrations of their secondary metabolites that are toxic to either insect pests or needle pathogens. In the present study, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric methods to determine needle concentrations of metabolites of four endophyte species were developed. The endophytes considered were a Phialocephala sp. (vermiculine) and Phialocephala scopiformis (rugulosin) from white spruce, as well as a Xylaria sp. (griseofulvin) and Lophodermium nitens (pyrenophorol) from white pine needles. To ensure that needles were infected with the associated fungal endophyte, suitable qPCR-based methods were also developed. There was a high degree of concordance between the qPCR analysis of the fungal mycelium and the LC-MS/MS quantification of the associated metabolites. Concentrations of the antifungal compounds griseofulvin and pyrenophorol were present in amounts that affect conifer needle diseases including white pine blister rust caused by Cronartium ribicola. Similarly, concentrations of the antiinsectan compounds vermiculine and rugulosin were in the range known to reduce the growth of Choristoneura fumiferana and mitigate foliage damage.

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Keywords Choristoneura fumiferana, Conifer endophytes, Cronartium ribicola, Forestry, Griseofulvin, Pyrenophorol, Rugulosin, Vermiculine
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Journal Fungal Ecology
McMullin, D.R. (D. R.), Nguyen, H.D.T. (H. D.T.), Daly, G.J. (G. J.), Menard, B.S. (B. S.), & Miller, JD. (2018). Detection of foliar endophytes and their metabolites in Picea and Pinus seedling needles. Fungal Ecology, 31, 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.funeco.2017.09.003