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Microbe-Mediated Germination of Ascospores of Monosporascus cannonballus

March 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  3
Pages  243 - 247

M. E. Stanghellini , D. H. Kim , and M. Waugh

Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside 92521

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Accepted for publication 15 November 1999.

Ascospores of Monosporascus cannonballus germinated readily in the rhizosphere of cantaloupe plants growing in field soil. However, little or no germination occurred in the rhizosphere of melon plants growing in field soil that was autoclaved prior to infestation with ascospores. The latter data suggested that root exudates alone do not stimulate ascospore germination and that the soil microflora may be involved in the induction of ascospore germination. Amending field soil with streptomycin (which inhibits gram-negative microorganisms) did not suppress ascospore germination in the rhizosphere of cantaloupe plants. However, amending the soil with penicillin (which inhibits gram-positive microorganisms) did suppress ascospore germination. Pentachloronitrobenzene (PCNB), which inhibits the gram-positive actinomycetes but does not inhibit gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria, also suppressed ascospore germination. These results suggest that actinomycetes, either directly or indirectly, are involved in the induction of ascospore germination in field soil in the presence of exudates from cantaloupe roots. Optimum germination occurred at temperatures ranging from 25 to 35°C, and data indicate that a high percentage (≥72%) of the ascospore population within 500 μm of a root are capable of germination and subsequent penetration of cantaloupe roots.

Additional keywords: inoculum efficiency, rhizosphere width, soil temperature.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society