Phytotoxins, secondary metabolites toxic to plants and produced by fungi, are believed to play an important role in disease development by targeting host cellular machineries and/or interfering with host immune responses. The Ascochyta blight diseases on different legume plants are caused by Ascochyta
and related taxa, such as Phoma
. The causal agents of the Ascochyta blight are often associated with specific legume plants, showing a relatively narrow host range. The legume-associated Ascochyta
are known to produce a diverse array of polyketide-derived secondary metabolites, many of which exhibited significant phytotoxicity and have been claimed as virulence or pathogenicity factors. In this article, we reviewed the current state of knowledge on the diversity and biological activities of the phytotoxic compounds produced by Ascochyta
species. Also, we touched on the secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene clusters identified thus far and discussed the role of metabolites in the fungal biology.
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