Diversity and Antifungal activity of endophytic fungi associated with Melastoma malabathricum L.
Medicinal plant has been used in folk medicine and found to harbour endophytes. Endophytes are organisms that colonize internal part of plant tissue without causing any harm to its host where it is producing bioactive compound that can be used for antibacterial and antifungal activity. Endophytic fungi strains (n = 35) were isolated from the leaves, roots, and stems of Melastoma malabatrichum from UiTM NS Reserve Forest (Malaysia) to delineate their species composition and potential as biological control agents of C. gloeosporioides anthracnose. Fungal colonization rates of the leaves, roots, and stems were 38.90, 33.33, and 25%, respectively. The isolates were identified as 6 group, belonging to two phyla, Zygomycota (11.20%), and Ascomycota (38.90%) and 4 unidentified group including SSM1 (13.90%), SSM5 (11.11%), SRM3 (13.90%) and SRM4 (8.30%) respectively. Based on the results of dual culture experiments, all isolated endophytic fungi exhibited antifungal activity against C. gloeosporioides anthracnose pathogen, with isolate SSM1 and SSM5 generating significantly differences with broadest inhibition zones with 57.89% and 52.63%, respectively. Our results indicate that the endophytes associated with M. malabatrichum could be employed as natural agents controlling C. gloeosporoides anthracnose.