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Subcuticular-Intracellular Hemibiotrophic and Intercellular Necrotrophic Development of Colletotrichum acutatum on Almond

July 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  7
Pages  751 - 758

J. Diéguez-Uribeondo , H. Förster , A. Soto-Estrada , and J. E. Adaskaveg

Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside 92521

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Accepted for publication 30 March 2005.

The early infection and colonization processes of Colletotrichum acutatum on leaves and petals of two almond cultivars with different susceptibility to anthracnose (i.e., cvs. Carmel and Nonpareil) were examined using digital image analysis of light micrographs and histological techniques. Inoculated tissue surfaces were evaluated at selected times after inoculation and incubation at 20°C. Depth maps and line profiles of the digital image analysis allowed rapid depth quantification of fungal colonization in numerous tissue samples. The results showed that the early development of C. acutatum on petals was different from that on leaf tissue. On petals, conidia germinated more rapidly, germ tubes were longer, and fewer appressoria developed than on leaves. On both tissues, penetration by the pathogen occurred from appressoria and host colonization was first subcuticular and then intracellular. On petals, colonizing hyphae were first observed 24 h after inoculation and incubation at 20°C, whereas on leaves they were seen 48 to 72 h after inoculation. Intercellular hyphae were formed before host cells became necrotic and macroscopic lesions developed on petals ≥48 h and on leaves ≥96 h after inoculation. Histological studies complemented data obtained by digital image analysis and showed that the fungus produced infection vesicles and broad hyphae below the cuticle and in epidermal cells. In both tissues, during the first 24 to 48 h after penetration fungal colonization was biotrophic based on the presence of healthy host cells adjacent to fungal hyphae. Later, during intercellular growth, the host-pathogen interaction became necrotrophic with collapsed host cells. Quantitative differences in appressorium formation and host colonization were found between the two almond cultivars studied. Thus, on the less susceptible cv. Nonpareil fewer appressoria developed and host colonization was reduced compared with that on cv. Carmel.

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society