How The Chocolate Trees Pass Disease Resistance On To Their Own Saplings

Although any litter exposure helped, plants that were treated with cacao litter showed the least damage overall and about 50% less damage than plants treated with mixed leaf litter from other species. Seedlings that were given no litter may host a greater diversity of endophytes because they are more likely to be colonized by weedy, easily-dispersed endophytic fungi that haven’t specialized in living within and protecting cacao as C. tropciale has.One important implication is that cacao farmers can give their seedlings a good start in a simple way: by collecting leaf litter from healthy older trees and spreading it around seedlings. If seedlings are planted in big fields away from older trees, such a practice could improve seedling health without having to individually inoculate each tree with C. tropicale. (Click on title for full story.)