Endophytic isolates of fungi were obtained from leaves, stems and roots of 110 sweetsop and 90 soursop plants from Pernambuco. Twenty-nine isolates were analyzed for production of extracellular enzymes by qualitative assay in Petri dishes containing specific solid media, and for the capacity to promote growth of sweetsop seedlings. These isolates were identified as Acremonium (10.34%), Aspergillus (3.45%), Chaetomium (3.45%), Colletotrichum (10.34%), Cylindrocladium (13.8%), Fusarium (31.03%), Glomerella (3.45%), Nigrospora (6.9%), Penicillium (6.9%) and Phomopsis (10.34%). Nineteen isolates showed lypolytic activity while five showed proteolytic activity; cellulolytic and amylolytic activity were not detected. Eleven isolates of the genera Acremonium (GFR6 and GRR1), Colletotrichum (GFR4 and PFR4), Phomopsis (PFR3 and GCR4), Cylindrocladium (GRR4), Chaetomium (GRR7) and Fusarium (GRR5, PRR1 and PRR6) efficiently improved plant growth. Increase in shoot dry matter of sweetsop seedlings ranged from 23.2 to 32.7%; there was no increase in root dry matter. It is worthy of note that 20 isolates caused significant (P = 0.05) reduction in root dry matter of sweetsop seedlings. In apparently healthy tissues of sweetsop and soursop plants, some fungi promote shoot growth or reduce root growth, while others have no effect on growth of sweetsop seedlings.
endophytic fungi; enzymes; soursop; sweetsop; plant growth; seedlings