Department of Plant Protection, INIA, Carretera de La Coruña Km 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) plants of ‘Lorena’ were induced with a conidial suspension (107 conidia per ml) of Penicillium oxalicum before inoculation with Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, the wilt pathogen. Histological changes occurred in plants under both growth chamber and glasshouse culture conditions and there was a reduction of disease severity. In noninduced plants, the pathogen produced almost a complete loss of cambium (75 to 100% reduction), an increase in the number of bundles, and a decrease in the number of xylem vessels (20% reduction), in which the diameter also was reduced by 20 to 30% in hypocotyls and epicotyls. The percentage of vessels colonized by F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici was positively correlated to the area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC). However, plants induced with P. oxalicum showed less disease, did not lose the cambium, had a lower number of bundles, and had less vascular colonization by F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (35 to 99%). These effects also were observed in ‘Precodor’, which is susceptible to races 1 and 2 of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, and partially in ‘Ramón’, which is resistant to both races. Renewed or prolonged cambial activity that led to the formation of additional secondary xylem could be one of the reasons for disease reduction in P. oxalicum-induced tomato plants.