First author: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada; first and second authors: Plant Biotechnology Institute Ibaraki Agricultural Center, Ago, Iwama, Nishi Ibaraki 319-0292 Japan; and third author: Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tohoku University, Sendai 981-8555, Japan
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Accepted for publication 17 December 2003.
Three hundred forty-nine fungal endophytes were obtained from a total of 1,214 root segments of eggplant, melon, barley, and Chinese cabbage grown as bait plants in a mixed soil made up of samples from different forest soils in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Three of the 349 isolates, when inoculated in axenically reared Chinese cabbage seedlings grown in petri dishes, almost completely suppressed the effects of a postinoculated and virulent strain of Verticillium longisporum. Two isolates effective against the pathogen were Phialocephala fortinii, which had been obtained from the roots of eggplant and Chinese cabbage. The third isolate was a dark septate endophytic (DSE) fungus obtained from barley roots. Hyphae of P. fortinii grew along the surface of the root and formed microsclerotia on or in the epidermal layer. Hyphae of the DSE fungus heavily colonized root cells of the cortex. Seedlings grown for 1 week in the presence of the endophytes were then challenged with the Verticillium pathogen. In DSE-treated roots, some of cell walls in the epidermal and cortical layers showed cell wall appositions and thickenings, which appeared to limit the ingress of the pathogen into adjacent cells. Such marked host reactions were not observed in the root cells colonized by P. fortinii. Chinese cabbage preinoculated with the above endophytes and, for comparison, a previously reported disease-suppressive fungal endophyte, Heteroconium chaetospira, were transplanted into the field and disease symptoms were assessed. The DSE could most effectively inhibit the development of Verticillium yellows, with reductions in the percentages of external and internal disease symptoms of 84 and 88%, respectively. The protective values against the disease are extremely high compared with those of other isolates. Most of the DSE-treated plants in the plots achieved marketable quality.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society