First author: University of California, Cooperative Extension, 669 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura 93003; and second and third authors: University of California, Department of Plant Pathology, Riverside 92521
Two enzyme systems, cellulase (β-1,4-glucanase) and laminarinase (β-1,3-glucanase), were added to soil extracts to simulate (in vitro) lytic components found in mulches suppressive to Phytophthora cinnamomi. Concentration ranges of each enzyme were incubated with Phytophthora cinnamomi mycelium, zoospores, zoospores cysts, and zoospore-infected excised roots to evaluate the roles of each enzyme in potential control of avocado root rot disease. Cellulase significantly retarded the development of zoosporangia and chlamydospores when mycelia were incubated in soil extract containing the enzyme at concentrations greater than 10 units/ml. Zoospore production was also reduced by cellulase but not by laminarinase. Laminarinase had little effect on zoosporangia or chlamydospore formation. At high concentrations, laminarinase was consistently more effective at preventing encystment than cellulase. Chlamydospores preformed in root tips were immune to the lytic effects of all treatments except cellulase at 100 units/ml. Zoospores placed in enzyme solutions and plated on a selective medium survived high cellulase concentrations and formed colonies, but there were fewer surviving zoospores when laminarinase was present at greater than 10 units/ml. Low concentrations of cellulase stimulated infection of excised roots, however, low concentrations of laminarinase prevented infection. Cellulase and laminarinase have different effects on the structures of the Phytophthora cinnamomi life history, however, each enzyme may have a role in reduction of inoculum.