Biocontrol traits of plant growth suppressive arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi against root rot in tomato caused by Pythium aphanidermatum

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  • John Larsen, Denmark
  • James H. Graham, Denmark
  • Jaime Cubero, Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, United States
  • Sabine Ravnskov
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi known to cause plant growth depressions in tomato were examined for their biocontrol effects against root rot caused by Pythium aphanidermatum. The main hypothesis was that plant growth suppressive AM fungi would elicit a defence response in the host plant reducing Pythium root rot development. To test this hypothesis a fully factorial experiment was performed with AM fungi (Glomus intraradices, G. mosseae, G. claroideum or nonmycorrhizal), Pythium (± P. aphanidermatum) and harvest (7 and 14 days after pathogen inoculation (dapi)) as the main factors. Two weeks after AM fungi inoculation, roots were challenged with P. aphanidermatum. Variables evaluated at each harvest were root colonization levels of the interacting fungi, plant growth responses, and expression of a plant pathogenesis related protein gene (PR-1). All of the tested AM fungi caused marked growth suppressions, but did not affect PR-1 gene expression or the phosphorous concentration in the host plant. Plants singly inoculated with P. aphanidermatum had an increased PR-1 expression and phosphorous concentration. Among the AM fungi included in the study only G. intraradices reduced the pathogen root infection level, measured both in terms of Pythium ELISA and by recovery on selective media and only at the first harvest. Likewise, P. aphanidermatum root infection reduced colonization levels of G. intraradices, but not that of the two other AM fungi. In conclusion, plant growth suppressive AM fungi may offer plant beneficial traits in terms of biocontrol of root cortical pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Volume133
Issue2
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
ISSN0929-1873
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

    Research areas

  • Biocontrol, Mycorrhizosphere, Glomus, Plant-microbe interactions, Plant defence

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