Poster: Molecular & Cellular Plant-Microbe Interactions: Proteomics/Metabolomics/Genomics
Fungal endophyte community analysis of green coffee beans: a comparison across growing regions and qualities
R. CAPOUYA (1), T. Mitchell (1), V. Devi Ganeshan (1) (1) The Ohio State University, U.S.A.
Coffee is considered a global dietary staple due to its distinct flavor, longstanding cultural significance, and stimulating caffeine content. During the production process, defective green coffee beans are sorted out so the batch contains below a certain percentage of them, as a non-homogenous batch can negatively impact the roasting process. A reduction of this percentage of defects would result in higher yields and better quality coffee. We hypothesize that there are notable differences in the endophyte communities between good and defective green coffee beans, and one or more fungal taxa can be associated with bean health or with particular economically significant defects. Through next-generation amplicon sequencing, we analyzed the endophytes present within beans from six defect categories across three coffee growing regions and made comparisons to identify the fungal taxa associated with these categories. We identified a variety of fungal communities present within the samples and were able to make statistical associations between both healthy and defective beans and certain endophytic taxa. Particularly, our studies indicate that multiple species from the Pichia genus may be responsible for promoting healthy bean development. Our findings will open the door to new research regarding the manipulation of endophytic fungi to improve overall coffee production and quality.