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Food security for leaf-cutting ants: Workers and their fungus garden reject endophyte invaders
Date:4/2/2009

eparation process by the ants significantly lowered the amount of fungi in leaf pieces before they were placed into the fungal garden. The Petri plate experiment also showed that the garden fungus reduced the growth rate for 28 of the 32 endophytic fungal strains that were tested, with a stronger effect for more rapidly growing endophyte strains. This suggests that, apart from the hygiene practiced by the ants, the garden itself can compete with incoming microbes.

"Fungi in the leaves were not welcome in the leaf cutter ants' garden," concluded Van Bael.


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Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
7-034-873-770-8216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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Food security for leaf-cutting ants: Workers and their fungus garden reject endophyte invaders
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