Fungal spores responsible for bitter rot disease, a common and devastating infection in fruit, do not encounter their host plants by chance. Turns out, they have a symbiotic association with the plant, often living inside its leaves. The new way of looking at the fungal pathogen, Colletotrichum fioriniae, as a leaf endophyte — bacterial or fungal microorganisms that colonize healthy plant tissue — was the outcome of a two-year study conducted by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
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