Special Issue "Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Julio Javier Diez Diez
Website
Guest Editor
Sustainable Forest Management Research Institute, University of Valladolid-INIA, Avenida de Madrid 44, 34071 Palencia, Spain
Interests: forest pathology; biological control; fungal biodiversity; micoviruses; climate change; genetic control
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Johanna Witzell
Website
Guest Editor
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, BOX 49, 23053 Alnarp, Sweden
Interests: forest pathology; tree resistance; fungal endophytes; invasive pathogens; sustainable forest management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Changing climate and global trade and transports are leading to increasing problems with native and introduced forest pests and pathogens. Sustainable forest management necessitates effective diagnoses, development of environmentally sound forest protection measures and implementation of integrated pest management strategies. There is thus an urgent need to better understand the possibilities and challenges in the control and mitigation of the effects of forest pests and pathogens through biological and bio-based solutions.

This Special Issue aims to present the recent advances in the development and use of biological control and bio-based measures against forest pest (insects and nematodes) and pathogens (fungi, bacteria, mycoplasma, and viruses). Studies conducted in experimental (laboratory) and authentic environments (nurseries, plantations, and natural forests), as well as theoretical approaches (modelling studies and literature reviews) are of interest. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

-Characters and potential of living organisms as antagonists or parasitoids against forest pests and pathogens

-Bio-based agents as antimicrobial or tree-defense promoting factors  

-Utilization of natural mechanisms and traits (e.g., RNA interference, mating disruption by pheromones, and chemical defenses) in the control and mitigation of forest pest and pathogen impacts

-New and improved diagnosis methods as a part of the management strategies

-Technological advances in the application of biological and bio-based solutions in forest protection

-Economic and impact analyses of sustainable forest protection through biological and bio-based solutions.


Prof. Julio Javier Diez
Assoc. Prof. Johanna Witzell
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Role of Biofilm Formation by Bacillus pumilus HR10 in Biocontrol against Pine Seedling Damping-Off Disease Caused by Rhizoctonia solani
Forests 2020, 11(6), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060652 - 07 Jun 2020
Abstract
The biocontrol process mediated by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) relies on multiple mechanisms. Biofilm formation plays an important role in the ability of PGPR to control plant diseases. Bacillus pumilus HR10, one such PGPR, promotes the growth of Pinus thunbergii. This study [...] Read more.
The biocontrol process mediated by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) relies on multiple mechanisms. Biofilm formation plays an important role in the ability of PGPR to control plant diseases. Bacillus pumilus HR10, one such PGPR, promotes the growth of Pinus thunbergii. This study showed that the wild-type strain B. pumilus HR10 produces a stable and mature biofilm in vitro. Biofilm-deficient mutants of B. pumilus HR10 with different phenotypes were screened by mutagenesis. The contents of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and proteins produced by the mutant strains were significantly reduced, and the biofilms of the mutants were weakened to varying degrees. The swarming abilities of the wild-type and mutant strains were positively correlated with biofilm formation. A colonization assay demonstrated that B. pumilus HR10 could colonize the roots of Pinus massoniana seedlings in a large population and persist, while biofilm-deficient mutants showed weak colonization ability. Furthermore, a biocontrol assay showed that biocontrol efficacy of the mutants was reduced to a certain degree. We determined the inhibitory activity of B. pumilus HR10 and its ability to induce systemic resistance against Rhizoctonia solani of plants. The synthesis of lipopeptide antibiotics is probably involved in biofilm formation by B. pumilus HR10. These observations not only provide a reference for further research about the coordinated action between biofilm formation and the multiple biocontrol mechanisms of B. pumilus HR10 but also improve the understanding of the regulatory pathway of biofilm formation by B. pumilus HR10. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Spruce Budworm Natural Enemies Using a qPCR-Based Molecular Sorting Approach
Forests 2020, 11(6), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060621 - 01 Jun 2020
Abstract
Annual monitoring of mortality agents in the course of a spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)) population cycle is essential to understanding the factors governing the rise and collapse of outbreaks. To date, assessments of causes of budworm mortality have relied [...] Read more.
Annual monitoring of mortality agents in the course of a spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)) population cycle is essential to understanding the factors governing the rise and collapse of outbreaks. To date, assessments of causes of budworm mortality have relied on laboratory rearing of field-collected larvae, followed by visual identification of emerging parasitoids and/or microscopic analysis of pathogens in larval carcasses. Although this approach has provided vital information on the abundance and identity of mortality agents, the procedure is labor-intensive and has limits in terms of accuracy. To overcome these shortcomings, we developed a molecular identification tool that makes use of real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and TaqMan® technologies. The tool relies on taxon-specific molecular variants (single nucleotide polymorphism [SNP] markers) found in mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (28S rDNA) genes, for parasitoids, and in the nuclear SSU rDNA gene for microsporidian pathogens; these are then used as molecular signatures targeted by qPCR primers and TaqMan probes. Thus, the design of several sets of primers and probes deployed in multiplex format enables the identification of natural enemies via a molecular sorting process, bypassing barcode sequencing. Crude budworm DNA extracts are processed through a first module that detects dipteran and hymenopteran parasitoids, and microsporidian infections. Positive samples are then processed for species determination using three additional modules, enabling the identification of 20 common natural enemies of the spruce budworm. The tool has been fully validated using DNA samples from all comprised taxa, and both its sensitivity and accuracy compared favorably with the rearing-based method in an analysis of field-collected budworms. Using this tool, sample processing can be completed within two days, does not require larval rearing, provides accurate species identification, and can be conducted by technical staff without extensive molecular biology or insect taxonomy training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
Nest Survival and Transplantation Success of Formica rufa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Ants in Southern Turkey: A Predictive Approach
Forests 2020, 11(5), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050533 - 10 May 2020
Abstract
Research highlights: Formica rufa is used widely for biocontrol in Turkish forests. Although ecological characteristics of red wood ant habitats are well known, the statistical significance of these characteristics and their effects on nest transplantation success are largely unknown. Having such knowledge on [...] Read more.
Research highlights: Formica rufa is used widely for biocontrol in Turkish forests. Although ecological characteristics of red wood ant habitats are well known, the statistical significance of these characteristics and their effects on nest transplantation success are largely unknown. Having such knowledge on a local scale, however, can help to predict the success of a scheduled transplantation effort, and can prevent loss of time and money. Background and objectives: In the present study, we used nest transplantation data from southern Turkey to determine habitat parameters that have a significant impact on nest survival, and to investigate possibility of predicting transplantation success from habitat parameter data. Materials and methods: Algorithms of data mining are widely used in agricultural and forestry applications for a wide range of tasks. In the present study, we used descriptive statistics to summarize the transplantation profile according to six habitat parameters (altitude, aspect, canopy closure, landform, nest substrate, and slope). We also used classification, a data mining approach, with two of its methods (decision tree and naïve Bayes) to determine the most important habitat parameters for nest survival and predict nest transplantation success in southern Turkey. Results: We found that altitude, aspect, and canopy closure were the most important factors affecting transplantation success. We also show that classification methods can be used in not only classifying, but also predicting the success rate of future transplantations. Thus, we show that the possibility of success for a given area can be predicted when certain parameters are known. Conclusions: This method can assist biological control practitioners in planning biocontrol programs and selecting favorable spots for red wood ant nest transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification the Pathogens Causing Rot Disease in Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) in China and the Antifungal Activity of Aqueous Garlic Extract
Forests 2020, 11(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010034 - 24 Dec 2019
Abstract
Rot disease is a serious disease in pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) plantations in China. This disease usually weakens tree vigor, and seriously reduces the ornamental value, fruit yield, and quality. A better understanding of the pathogen that causes a disease is important [...] Read more.
Rot disease is a serious disease in pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) plantations in China. This disease usually weakens tree vigor, and seriously reduces the ornamental value, fruit yield, and quality. A better understanding of the pathogen that causes a disease is important for its control. Thus, the aims of this study were to isolate and identify the pathogen causing rot disease and to explore substances for its biological control. In this study, the morphology of the hyphae and spores of the pathogens was observed, and the pathogens were identified by morphological characteristics and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of their rDNA. Furthermore, the activity of an aqueous garlic extract as antifungal treatment for the identified pathogens was assessed. The results showed that the pathogens causing soft rot and dry rot in ‘Xinjiang Big Seed’ pomegranate were most probably Aspergillus niger and Botryosphaeria dothidea, respectively. In addition, the pathogenicity of A. niger was stronger than that of B. dothidea. The aqueous garlic extract had a strong antifungal effect on both pathogens by inhibiting mycelium growth in vitro, and the minimum inhibitory concentrations against A. niger and B. dothidea were 7.5 mg/mL and 10 mg/mL, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Sequencing and Expression Analysis of Genes Related to Anthocyanin Biosynthesis in Leaves of Malus ‘Profusion’ Infected by Japanese Apple Rust
Forests 2019, 10(8), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080665 - 07 Aug 2019
Abstract
Anthocyanins play many roles in plants, including providing protection from biotic and abiotic stresses. Japanese apple rust (Gymnosporangium yamadae Miyabe ex G. Yamada) causes serious diseases in plants of the genus Malus and results in reduced fruit production and quality. However, few [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins play many roles in plants, including providing protection from biotic and abiotic stresses. Japanese apple rust (Gymnosporangium yamadae Miyabe ex G. Yamada) causes serious diseases in plants of the genus Malus and results in reduced fruit production and quality. However, few studies have been done to unravel the molecular mechanisms of anthocyanin formation in rust-infected apple leaves. To identify new regulatory genes in apple leaves that may be involved in regulating rust-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis, we measured anthocyanin content and sequenced the transcriptomes of rust-infected and uninfected tissues of Malus ‘Profusion’ leaves. Significant color changes and anthocyanin enrichment (especially cyanidin-3-galactoside chloride) occurred in infected tissues, whereas no significant color change and a low anthocyanin level were observed in uninfected tissue. We identified 10,045 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in these two tissue types, including 6021 genes that were upregulated in the infected tissue and 4024 genes that were downregulated. We also identified five structural genes that are putative regulators of anthocyanin biosynthesis. In addition, 56 MYB genes, 36 bHLH genes, and one WD40 gene were identified among the obtained DEGs. According to the phylogeny of the amino acid sequences of transcription factors known to be involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, one MYB gene (MYB114-like) and two bHLH genes (bHLH33 and bHLHA-like) may relate to anthocyanin biosynthesis in rust-infected apple leaves. These data will provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying anthocyanin accumulation upon rust infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Global Geographic Distribution and Host Range of Fusarium circinatum, the Causal Agent of Pine Pitch Canker
Forests 2020, 11(7), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11070724 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fusarium circinatum, the causal agent of pine pitch canker (PPC), is currently one of the most important threats of Pinus spp. globally. This pathogen is known in many pine-growing regions, including natural and planted forests, and can affect all life stages of [...] Read more.
Fusarium circinatum, the causal agent of pine pitch canker (PPC), is currently one of the most important threats of Pinus spp. globally. This pathogen is known in many pine-growing regions, including natural and planted forests, and can affect all life stages of trees, from emerging seedlings to mature trees. Despite the importance of PPC, the global distribution of F. circinatum is poorly documented, and this problem is also true of the hosts within countries that are affected. The aim of this study was to review the global distribution of F. circinatum, with a particular focus on Europe. We considered (1) the current and historical pathogen records, both positive and negative, based on confirmed reports from Europe and globally; (2) the genetic diversity and population structure of the pathogen; (3) the current distribution of PPC in Europe, comparing published models of predicted disease distribution; and (4) host susceptibility by reviewing literature and generating a comprehensive list of known hosts for the fungus. These data were collated from 41 countries and used to compile a specially constructed geo-database. A review of 6297 observation records showed that F. circinatum and the symptoms it causes on conifers occurred in 14 countries, including four in Europe, and is absent in 28 countries. Field observations and experimental data from 138 host species revealed 106 susceptible host species including 85 Pinus species, 6 non-pine tree species and 15 grass and herb species. Our data confirm that susceptibility to F. circinatum varies between different host species, tree ages and environmental characteristics. Knowledge on the geographic distribution, host range and the relative susceptibility of different hosts is essential for disease management, mitigation and containment strategies. The findings reported in this review will support countries that are currently free of F. circinatum in implementing effective procedures and restrictions and prevent further spread of the pathogen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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Open AccessReview
Why Does Phlebiopsis gigantea not Always Inhibit Root and Butt Rot in Conifers?
Forests 2020, 11(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020129 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This review aims to identify possible causes of differing effectiveness of artificial biological control of Heterobasidion root rot by the saprotrophic fungus Phlebiopsis gigantea. We describe published information in terms of pathogen–competitor relationships and the impact of environmental and genetic factors. We [...] Read more.
This review aims to identify possible causes of differing effectiveness of artificial biological control of Heterobasidion root rot by the saprotrophic fungus Phlebiopsis gigantea. We describe published information in terms of pathogen–competitor relationships and the impact of environmental and genetic factors. We also revisit data from original research performed in recent years at the Forest Research Institute in Poland. We hypothesized that, in many cases, competition in roots and stumps of coniferous trees between the necrotrophic Heterobasidion spp. and the introduced saprotroph, Phlebiopsis gigantea, is affected by growth characteristics and enzymatic activity of the fungi, the characteristics of the wood, and environmental conditions. We concluded that both wood traits and fungal enzymatic activity during wood decay in roots and stumps, and the richness of the fungal biota, may limit biological control of root rot. In addition, we identify the need for research on new formulations and isolates of the fungal competitor, Phlebiopsis gigantea, as well as on approaches for accurately identifying the infectious threat from pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Bio-Based Management of Forest Pests and Pathogens)
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