Grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) are the most widespread fungal diseases, affecting grapevines in all the major growing regions of the world, and their complete eradication is still not possible. Aiming to search alternatives to avoid the spread and high incidence of these diseases, the present work intended to molecularly identify the grapevine endophytic community, the phytopathogenic fungi associated with GTDs in vineyards within the Alentejo region, and to test potential antagonist microorganisms as biological control candidates against GTDs-associated fungi. Grapevine endophytic community showed a wide variety of fungi in GTDs' asymptomatic and symptomatic plants, nine of them previously described as GTDs-associated fungi. GTDs prevalent fungi identified in symptomatic plants were Diaporthe sp., Neofusicoccum sp., and H. viticola. Almost all these fungi were also detected in asymptomatic plants, which shows the importance of investigating the interactions of fungal communities and confirms the need for early diagnosis of these diseases. Direct inhibition antagonism tests were performed among identified endophytes and GTDs phytopathogenic fungi, and all the endophyte fungi showed potential as biocontrol agents. Our findings suggest that endophytes are promising candidates for their use in biological control due to their antagonistic activity against the mycelia growth of some GTDs-associated fungi.
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