Comparative analysis of the role of substrate specificity in biological control of Botrytis elliptica in lily and B. cinerea in cyclamen with Ulocladium atrum

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Abstract

Biological control of Botrytis spp. by the fungal antagonist Ulocladium atrum is based on their interaction in plant tissue. U. atrum is effective against B. cinerea in commercial cyclamen crops but not effective against B. elliptica in lily crops. Based on the necrotrophic nature of the Botrytis spp. and the saprophytic nature of U. atrum it is hypothesised, and experimentally confirmed, that the interaction between Botrytis spp. and U. atrum, resulting in a biocontrol effect, only takes place in necrotic plant tissue. The role of necrotic tissue in the epidemiology of B. cinerea in cyclamen and B. elliptica in lily was found to be different. Removal of symptomless senescing leaves resulted in a significant reduction of the area under the disease severity progress curve (AUDPC) for B. cinerea in cyclamen but had no effect on the disease severity in lily. U. atrum applications significantly reduced B. cinerea AUDPC values in cyclamen but were less efficient than the removal of senescing leaves. In lily, disease severity was not affected by applications of U. atrum. It is concluded that necrotic cyclamen tissue, not killed by B. cinerea, plays an important role in the onset of disease. Colonisation of this tissue by U. atrum prevents saprophytic colonisation of those leaves by B. cinerea. In contrast, conidia of B. elliptica directly infect healthy lily leaf tissue. U. atrum applications aimed at blocking the infection pathway from a saprophytic base are therefore not effective against B. elliptica. Control options based on competitive interactions in and around B. elliptica lesions resulted in a reduced production of conidia by B. elliptica but proved ineffective against disease development. The potential of U. atrum as a biocontrol agent against Botrytis spp. and possibly against other necrotrophs appears to be determined by the competitive saprophytic ability of the antagonist in mutual substrates of pathogen and antagonist and by the role of these substrates in disease epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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