Special Issue "Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium"

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2022) | Viewed by 7805

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Paloma Sánchez-Torres
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food Biotechnology, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, IATA-CSIC, Avda. Catedrático Agustín Escardino, 7, 46980 Paterna, Valencia, Spain
Interests: Penicillium spp.; postharvest; fungal control; fungicide resistance; virulence/pathogenesis; signal transduction pathways; host–pathogen interaction; synthetic biology
Prof. Dr. Mónica Gandía Gómez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Food Science, Bromatology, Toxicology and Legal Medicine, Universitat de València, Vicente Andrés Estellés s/n, Burjassot, 46100 Valencia, Spain
Interests: Penicillium spp., postharvest; fungal control; virulence/pathogenesis; cell wall; antimicrobial peptides; antifungal proteins; fungal cell factories; synthetic biology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fungi belonging to the Penicillium genus are a major threat to the global citrus and pome fruit industry, causing high economic losses. Within this genus, it is worth highlighting Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium italicum and Penicillium expansum. These fungi negatively affect fruit quality, thus reducing the consumption of fresh fruit and contributing significantly to food loss. Some of them also produce mycotoxins that are negative to human health. Management options are limited due to fungicide-resistant Penicillium species. This makes disease control difficult, which is cause for concern and increases the need for new compounds and target discovery. Therefore, new approaches and tools are required to combat Penicillium pathogens during storage.

A complex interplay exists between antifungal resistance and virulence expressed by pathogenic fungi. Antifungals currently used on the market are limited, when compared to antibacterials. Comparative genomic and transcriptomic studies have indicated several new potential antifungal targets, which are currently under analysis. Among those, factors involved in virulence and pathogenesis could provide new insights for the development of novel compounds, such as antifungal proteins or peptides.

This Special Issue will focus on the different approaches developed to control pathogenic Penicillium during postharvest to avoid antifungal drug resistance mechanisms and on potential new target strategies to control fungal infections based on virulence factors and signal transduction pathways underlying the control of infection mechanisms.

Dr. Paloma Sánchez-Torres
Prof. Dr. Mónica Gandía Gómez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Control of Penicillium during postharvest
  • Biocontrol
  • Antifungal proteins and peptides
  • Fungicide resistance
  • Virulence/pathogenesis
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Host–pathogen interaction
  • Effectors

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
Epiphytic Yeasts and Bacteria as Candidate Biocontrol Agents of Green and Blue Molds of Citrus Fruits
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080818 - 03 Aug 2022
Viewed by 287
Abstract
Overall, 180 yeasts and bacteria isolated from the peel of citrus fruits were screened for their in vitro antagonistic activity against Penicillium digitatum and P. italicum, causative agents of green and blue mold of citrus fruits, respectively. Two yeast and three bacterial [...] Read more.
Overall, 180 yeasts and bacteria isolated from the peel of citrus fruits were screened for their in vitro antagonistic activity against Penicillium digitatum and P. italicum, causative agents of green and blue mold of citrus fruits, respectively. Two yeast and three bacterial isolates were selected for their inhibitory activity on mycelium growth. Based on the phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA and ITS rDNA sequences, the yeast isolates were identified as Candida oleophila and Debaryomyces hansenii while the bacterial isolates were identified as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, B. pumilus and B. subtilis. All five selected isolates significantly reduced the incidence of decay incited by P. digitatum and P. italicum on ‘Valencia’ orange and ‘Eureka’ lemon fruits. Moreover, they were effective in preventing natural infections of green and blue mold of fruits stored at 4 °C. Treatments with antagonistic yeasts and bacteria did not negatively affect the quality and shelf life of fruits. The antagonistic efficacy of the five isolates depended on multiple modes of action, including the ability to form biofilms and produce antifungal lipopeptides, lytic enzymes and volatile compounds. The selected isolates are promising as biocontrol agents of postharvest green and blue molds of citrus fruits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Characterization and Functional Analysis of a New Calcium/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase (CaMK1) in the Citrus Pathogenic Fungus Penicillium italicum
J. Fungi 2022, 8(7), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8070667 - 25 Jun 2022
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Calcium (Ca2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaMKs) act as a class of crucial elements in Ca2+-signal transduction pathways that regulate fungal growth, sporulation, virulence, and environmental stress tolerance. However, little is known about the function of such protein kinase in phytopathogenic [...] Read more.
Calcium (Ca2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaMKs) act as a class of crucial elements in Ca2+-signal transduction pathways that regulate fungal growth, sporulation, virulence, and environmental stress tolerance. However, little is known about the function of such protein kinase in phytopathogenic Penicillium species. In the present study, a new CaMK gene from the citrus pathogenic fungus P. italicum, designated PiCaMK1, was cloned and functionally characterized by gene knockout and transcriptome analysis. The open reading frame of PiCaMK1 is 1209 bp in full length, which encodes 402 amino acid residues (putative molecular weight ~45.2 KD) with the highest homologous (~96.3%) to the P. expansum CaMK. The knockout mutant ΔPiCaMK1 showed a significant reduction in vegetative growth, conidiation, and virulence (i.e., to induce blue mold decay on citrus fruit). ΔPiCaMK1 was less sensitive to NaCl- or KCl-induced salinity stress and less resistant to mannitol-induced osmotic stress, indicating the functional involvement of PiCaMK1 in such environmental stress tolerance. In contrast, the PiCaMK1-complemented strain ΔPiCaMK1COM can restore all the defective phenotypes. Transcriptome analysis revealed that knockout of PiCaMK1 down-regulated expression of the genes involved in DNA replication and repair, cell cycle, meiosis, pyrimidine and purine metabolisms, and MAPK signaling pathway. Our results suggested the critical role of PiCaMK1 in regulating multiple physical and cellular processes of citrus postharvest pathogen P. italicum, including growth, conidiation, virulence, and environmental stress tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Influence of Marine Yeast Debaryomyces hansenii on Antifungal and Physicochemical Properties of Chitosan-Based Films
J. Fungi 2022, 8(4), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8040369 - 04 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 713
Abstract
Chitosan-based film with and without antagonistic yeast was prepared and its effect against Penicillium italicum was evaluated. The biocompatibility of yeast cells in the developed films was assessed in terms of population dynamics. Furthermore, the impact on physicochemical properties of the prepared films [...] Read more.
Chitosan-based film with and without antagonistic yeast was prepared and its effect against Penicillium italicum was evaluated. The biocompatibility of yeast cells in the developed films was assessed in terms of population dynamics. Furthermore, the impact on physicochemical properties of the prepared films with and without yeast cells incorporated were evaluated in terms of thickness, mechanical properties, color and opacity. Chitosan films with the antagonistic yeast entrapped exhibited strong antifungal activity by inhibiting the mycelial development (55%), germination (45%) and reducing the sporulation process (87%). Chitosan matrix at 0.5% and 1.0% was maintained over 9 days of cell viability. However, at 1.5% of chitosan the population dynamics was strongly affected. The addition of yeast cells only impacted color values such as a*, b*, chroma and hue angle when 1.0% of chitosan concentration was used. Conversely, luminosity was not affected in the presence of yeast cells as well as the opacity. Besides, the addition of antagonistic yeast improved the mechanical resistance of the films. The addition of D. hansenii in chitosan films improve their efficacy for controlling P. italicum, and besides showed desirable characteristics for future use as packaging for citrus products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Unveiling the Role Displayed by Penicillium digitatum PdMut3 Transcription Factor in Pathogen–Fruit Interaction
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100828 - 03 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 708
Abstract
Zn2Cys6 transcription factors are unique to fungi and are involved in different regulatory functions. In this study, we have identified the Penicillium digitatumPdMut3 gene, which encodes a putative Zn (II) 2Cys6 DNA-binding protein. Elimination of PdMut3 in Pd1 strain [...] Read more.
Zn2Cys6 transcription factors are unique to fungi and are involved in different regulatory functions. In this study, we have identified the Penicillium digitatumPdMut3 gene, which encodes a putative Zn (II) 2Cys6 DNA-binding protein. Elimination of PdMut3 in Pd1 strain caused increased virulence during citrus infection. The transcription of the PdMut3 gene showed a higher expression rate during fungal growth and less transcription during fruit infection. Furthermore, the deletion of the gene in the wild-type isolate of P. digitatum did not produce any modification of the sensitivity to different fungicides, indicating that the gene is not associated with resistance to fungicides. In contrast, PdMut3 null mutants showed a reduction in growth in minimal media, which was associated with severe alterations in conidiophore development and morphological alterations of the hyphae. Mutants showed greater sensitivity to compounds that interfere with the cell wall and an invasive growth block. Thus, PdMut3 might have an indirect role in fungi virulence through metabolism and peroxisomes development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Bacterial Quorum-Quenching Lactonase Hydrolyzes Fungal Mycotoxin and Reduces Pathogenicity of Penicillium expansum—Suggesting a Mechanism of Bacterial Antagonism
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100826 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Penicillium expansum is a necrotrophic wound fungal pathogen that secrets virulence factors to kill host cells including cell wall degrading enzymes (CWDEs), proteases, and mycotoxins such as patulin. During the interaction between P. expansum and its fruit host, these virulence factors are strictly [...] Read more.
Penicillium expansum is a necrotrophic wound fungal pathogen that secrets virulence factors to kill host cells including cell wall degrading enzymes (CWDEs), proteases, and mycotoxins such as patulin. During the interaction between P. expansum and its fruit host, these virulence factors are strictly modulated by intrinsic regulators and extrinsic environmental factors. In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in research on the molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity in P. expansum; however, less is known regarding the bacteria–fungal communication in the fruit environment that may affect pathogenicity. Many bacterial species use quorum-sensing (QS), a population density-dependent regulatory mechanism, to modulate the secretion of quorum-sensing signaling molecules (QSMs) as a method to control pathogenicity. N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) are Gram-negative QSMs. Therefore, QS is considered an antivirulence target, and enzymes degrading these QSMs, named quorum-quenching enzymes, have potential antimicrobial properties. Here, we demonstrate that a bacterial AHL lactonase can also efficiently degrade a fungal mycotoxin. The mycotoxin is a lactone, patulin secreted by fungi such as P. expansum. The bacterial lactonase hydrolyzed patulin at high catalytic efficiency, with a kcat value of 0.724 ± 0.077 s−1 and KM value of 116 ± 33.98 μM. The calculated specific activity (kcat/KM) showed a value of 6.21 × 103 s−1M−1. While the incubation of P. expansum spores with the purified lactonase did not inhibit spore germination, it inhibited colonization by the pathogen in apples. Furthermore, adding the purified enzyme to P. expansum culture before infecting apples resulted in reduced expression of genes involved in patulin biosynthesis and fungal cell wall biosynthesis. Some AHL-secreting bacteria also express AHL lactonase. Here, phylogenetic and structural analysis was used to identify putative lactonase in P. expansum. Furthermore, following recombinant expression and purification of the newly identified fungal enzyme, its activity with patulin was verified. These results indicate a possible role for patulin and lactonases in inter-kingdom communication between fungi and bacteria involved in fungal colonization and antagonism and suggest that QQ lactonases can be used as potential antifungal post-harvest treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Arginine Methyltransferase PeRmtC Regulates Development and Pathogenicity of Penicillium expansum via Mediating Key Genes in Conidiation and Secondary Metabolism
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100807 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
Penicillium expansum is one of the most common and destructive post-harvest fungal pathogens that can cause blue mold rot and produce mycotoxins in fruit, leading to significant post-harvest loss and food safety concerns. Arginine methylation by protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) modulates various cellular [...] Read more.
Penicillium expansum is one of the most common and destructive post-harvest fungal pathogens that can cause blue mold rot and produce mycotoxins in fruit, leading to significant post-harvest loss and food safety concerns. Arginine methylation by protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) modulates various cellular processes in many eukaryotes. However, the functions of PRMTs are largely unknown in post-harvest fungal pathogens. To explore their roles in P. expansum, we identified four PRMTs (PeRmtA, PeRmtB, PeRmtC, and PeRmt2). The single deletion of PeRmtA, PeRmtB, or PeRmt2 had minor or no impact on the P. expansum phenotype while deletion of PeRmtC resulted in decreased conidiation, delayed conidial germination, impaired pathogenicity and pigment biosynthesis, and altered tolerance to environmental stresses. Further research showed that PeRmtC could regulate two core regulatory genes, PeBrlA and PeAbaA, in conidiation, a series of backbone genes in secondary metabolism, and affect the symmetric ω-NG, N’G-dimethylarginine (sDMA) modification of proteins with molecular weights of primarily 16–17 kDa. Collectively, this work functionally characterized four PRMTs in P. expansum and showed the important roles of PeRmtC in the development, pathogenicity, and secondary metabolism of P. expansum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Potential of Antifungal Proteins (AFPs) to Control Penicillium Postharvest Fruit Decay
J. Fungi 2021, 7(6), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7060449 - 04 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1452
Abstract
Penicillium phytopathogenic species provoke severe postharvest disease and economic losses. Penicillium expansum is the main pome fruit phytopathogen while Penicillium digitatum and Penicillium italicum cause citrus green and blue mold, respectively. Control strategies rely on the use of synthetic fungicides, but the appearance [...] Read more.
Penicillium phytopathogenic species provoke severe postharvest disease and economic losses. Penicillium expansum is the main pome fruit phytopathogen while Penicillium digitatum and Penicillium italicum cause citrus green and blue mold, respectively. Control strategies rely on the use of synthetic fungicides, but the appearance of resistant strains and safety concerns have led to the search for new antifungals. Here, the potential application of different antifungal proteins (AFPs) including the three Penicillium chrysogenum proteins (PAF, PAFB and PAFC), as well as the Neosartorya fischeri NFAP2 protein to control Penicillium decay, has been evaluated. PAFB was the most potent AFP against P. digitatum, P. italicum and P. expansum, PAFC and NFAP2 showed moderate antifungal activity, whereas PAF was the least active protein. In fruit protection assays, PAFB provoked a reduction of the incidence of infections caused by P. digitatum and P. italicum in oranges and by P. expansum in apples. A combination of AFPs did not result in an increase in the efficacy of disease control. In conclusion, this study expands the antifungal inhibition spectrum of the AFPs evaluated, and demonstrates that AFPs act in a species-specific manner. PAFB is a promising alternative compound to control Penicillium postharvest fruit decay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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Article
Citronellal Exerts Its Antifungal Activity by Targeting Ergosterol Biosynthesis in Penicillium digitatum
J. Fungi 2021, 7(6), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7060432 - 29 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1351
Abstract
Ergosterol (ERG) is a potential target for the development of antifungal agents against Penicillium digitatum, the pathogen of green mold in citrus fruits. This study examined the mechanism by which citronellal, a typical terpenoid of Cymbopogon nardus essential oil, acts on ergosterol [...] Read more.
Ergosterol (ERG) is a potential target for the development of antifungal agents against Penicillium digitatum, the pathogen of green mold in citrus fruits. This study examined the mechanism by which citronellal, a typical terpenoid of Cymbopogon nardus essential oil, acts on ergosterol to exhibit its antifungal activity against P. digitatum. We previously reported that citronellal inhibited the growth of P. digitatum with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) of 1.36 and 2.72 mg/mL, respectively. In citronellal-treated cells, the membrane integrity and ergosterol contents significantly decreased, whereas lanosterol, which serves as a precursor for ergosterol biosynthesis, massively accumulated. Addition of 150 mg/L of exogenous ergosterol decreased the inhibitory rate of citronellal, restoring the ergosterol content and hence the membrane structure to normal levels, and triggered expression of nearly all ERG genes. Based on our findings, we deduce that citronellal damages the cell membrane integrity of P. digitatum by down-regulating the ERG genes responsible for conversion of lanosterol to ergosterol, the key downregulated gene being ERG3, due to the observed accumulation of ergosta-7,22-dienol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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