Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge 70803.
The fungus Simplicillium lanosoniveum was isolated from soybean leaves infected with Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the soybean rust pathogen, in Louisiana and Florida. The fungus did not grow or become established on leaf surfaces until uredinia erupted, but when soybean rust signs and symptoms were evident, S. lanosoniveum colonized leaves within 3 days and sporulated within 4 days. Development of new uredinia was suppressed by about fourfold when S. lanosoniveum colonized uredinia. In the presence of S. lanosoniveum, uredinia became increasingly red-brown, and urediniospores turned brown and germinated at very low rates. Assays using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction revealed that the fungus colonized leaf surfaces when plants were infected with P. pachyrhizi, either in a latent stage of infection or when symptoms were present. However, when plants were inoculated before infection, there was no increase of DNA of S. lanosoniveum, suggesting that the pathogen must be present in order for the antagonist to become established on soybean leaf surfaces. We documented significantly lower amounts of DNA of P. pachyrhizi and lower disease severity when soybean leaves were colonized with S. lanosoniveum. These studies documented the mycophilic and disease-suppressive nature of S. lanosoniveum.