Mutualistic associations are a type of symbiosis where individuals interact a profit. Due to the prominence of these relationships, it is not surprising that the zompopas have mutualisms not only with the fungus they grow to sustain the colony, but also with other microorganisms.
Because within the colony there is a diverse microbiota, among which there are some microfungi parasites capable of wiping out the fungal gardens symbiont, as in the case of Escovopsis, the zompopas have been associated with bacteria which enable them to control the proliferation this fungus deleterious. The mutual interaction to control parasitic fungi as Escovopsis has been shown to be associated with ants and not with the symbiotic fungus.
This was evidenced by eliminating ants fungal colonies whose grounds were infected Escovopsis and observe the parasite developed without control. From these observations it was concluded that there had to be a mutual organization associated with ants, to the point that dwell in them, and parasite control as Escovopsis was a coordinated process between the maintenance work carried out by ants workers and with the cooperation of this new mutual. The presence of a microorganism identified in the cuticle of ants, in specific anatomical regions depending on the attinido (tribe they belong zompopas) was the next step in the determination of this mutualistic.
Subsequently, the agency identified as belonging to the genus of filamentous bacteria Pseudonocardia, which belong to the order of the Actinomycetes, and whose transfer is vertical (Queen to their progeny). The anatomical distribution of the points where bacteria are housed level varies ant species. However they can be appreciated as white patches on the body of ants. Of these sites bacteria grow and secrete antibiotics have proved to be potent inhibitors in development Escovopsis.
In addition to Pseudonocardia, in other analyzes related seeking colonies leafcutter ants microorganisms the presence of a strain of Streptomyces were identified, another Actinomycete. These bacteria are recognized by the large number of anti-fungal from them.
In the case of the ant colony, it was observed that this strain produced a compound called candicidin, which served as a potent inhibitor of Escovopsis. It is of great interest to note that both Pseudonocardia as antifungal produced by Streptomyces, have no negative effects on the development of symbiotic fungus. Its effects are limited only to fungal pathogens garden as Escovopsis and do not affect the garden per se.