- (1) Departamento de Agronomía, Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas, Carretera a Camajuaní km 5.5, CP 54830 Santa Clara, Cuba
- (2) Departamento de Biología, Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas, Carretera a Camajuaní km 5.5, CP 54830 Santa Clara, Cuba
- (3) Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, grid.454322.6
- (4) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
The aim of this study was to evaluate the natural occurrence of Beauveria spp. in soil, from infections in the stink bug Piezodorus guildinii, an important pest of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and as endophytes in bean plant tissue. Twelve conventional and 12 organic common bean fields in the Villa Clara province, Cuba were sampled from September 2014 to April 2015. One hundred and fifty Beauveria isolates were obtained from soil samples, bean plant parts and stink bugs. The overall frequency of occurrence of Beauveria isolates in conventional fields (8.4%) was significantly lower than that in organic fields (23.6%). Beauveria were also obtained significantly more frequently from bean roots in organic fields (15.0%) compared to bean roots in conventional fields (3.3%). DNA sequencing of the intergenic Bloc region was performed for Beauveria species identification. All isolates where characterized as Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo-Crivelli) Vuillemin, and clustered with isolates of neotropical origin previously described as AFNEO_1. The Cuban B. bassiana isolates formed five clusters in the phylogeny. Isolates of two clusters originated from all four locations, organic and conventional fields, as well as soil, plants and stink bugs. Organic fields contained isolates of all five clusters while conventional fields only harbored isolates of the two most frequent ones. Mating type PCR assays revealed that mating type distribution was skewed, with MAT1/MAT2 proportion of 146/4, indicating limited potential for recombination. The present study is the first to report of B. bassiana as a naturally occurring endophyte in common bean. Further, it shows that B. bassiana occurs naturally in diverse environments of common bean fields, and constitutes a potential reservoir of natural enemies against pest insects particularly in organic fields.