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Colonization of Fiber Cells by Colletotrichum graminicola in Wounded Maize Stalks

April 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  4
Pages  438 - 447

C. Venard and L. Vaillancourt

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546

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Accepted for publication 20 September 2006.

Colonization of wounded maize stalks by a wild-type strain of Colletotrichum graminicola was compared with colonization by a C. graminicola mutant that is avirulent on maize leaves, and by a wild-type strain of C. sublineolum that is normally a pathogen of sorghum but not maize. Local infection by all strains at the wound site resulted in formation of primary lesions consisting of disintegrated parenchyma cells beneath an intact rind and epidermis. However, subsequent rapid longitudinal expansion of the primary lesion occurred only in infections with the wild-type C. graminicola strain, and proceeded specifically through the fiber cells associated with the vascular bundles and the rind. Hyphae emerged from the fiber cells to produce discontinuous secondary lesions. There was no evidence that C. graminicola is a vascular wilt pathogen. Resistance of wounded cv. Jubilee maize stalks to the mutant strain of C. graminicola and to C. sublineolum was associated with restriction of colonization and spread of the pathogen through the fibers, as well as with the limitation of localized destruction of parenchyma cells at the wound site.

Additional keywords: corn stalk rot, fungal pathogenicity, green fluorescent protein, ZsGreen.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society