Laboratory bioassays were performed to determine if a mutualistic association exists between three species of fungi and the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari). The fungi Fusarium solani (Martius), Penicillium citrinum Thom and Candida fermentati (Saito) were evaluated on the reproduction and survivorship of H. hampei. The fungi were evaluated at three concentrations: 5 × 102; 5 × 104 and 5 × 106 spores/ml using coffee berries and meridic diets as substrate. The fungi did not affect the normal development of the insect and did not increase mortality at any concentration evaluated. When H. hampei was reared in berries, no significant differences in the total progeny production were detected between treatments involving fungi and the control. When reared on meridic diets, there was no clear trend to suggest a beneficial effect of a given species of fungus on H. hampei; at 40 d postinoculation, the total progeny production of the insect was higher than the control with C. fermentati; at 60 d it was higher with F. solani, and at 80 d there were no differences between treatments involving fungi and the control. Our results indicate that there were no clear positive effects of any fungi on the coffee berry borer either in berries or diets. Therefore, we conclude that H. hampei is not allied with fungi in mutualist relationships as was previously believed.
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Vol. 98 • No. 4