Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Fungal Genomics, Genetics and Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 7879

Special Issue Editor

CESAM (Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar), Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: mycology; systematics; taxonomy; phylogeny; chemotyping; mycotoxicology; food mycology; bioactive compounds

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In natural ecosystems, the interaction between plants and fungi leads to a co‑evolutionary dynamic where both adapt to each other. Therefore, it is of major importance to have a notion of how several factors influence fungi–plant interactions. This is even more important if we consider that the distinction between a pathogenic fungus and a non-pathogenic one can be challenging because plants harbor a variety of fungi, with nearly 10,000 fungal species that can range from endophytic to pathogenic plant hosts.

Given that there is a great diversity of fungal pathogens, it is often almost impossible to circumscribe the host range of a pathogen. Even so, as we study the true diversity of these fungi, we can understand how their pathogenicity evolves and identify their threats. An important premise when studying the interaction between fungal pathogens and host plants is climate change scenarios, since they can lead to alterations in the host range of pathogens and increase their aggressiveness.

Therefore, it is paramount to improve plant disease management strategies based on knowledge of the pathogen–host range and its correct identification.

With this Special Issue, we want to improve the awareness of mycologists and plant pathologists to study fungal pathogens and their evolutionary associations with plants, based on integrative techniques or approaches.

Therefore, we encourage authors to contribute original research papers, reviews, or short communications that approach any aspect of the interaction of fungal pathogens and host plants, including new methods for fungal detection and identification, pathogenesis, epidemiology, or studies of the effects of environmental stresses on disease development.

Dr. Liliana Santos
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 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.

Keywords

  • mycology
  • taxonomy
  • plant physiology
  • phytopathology
  • agriculture
  • climate changes

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

19 pages, 5797 KiB  
Article
Virulence Spectra of Hungarian Pyrenophora teres f. teres Isolates Collected from Experimental Fields Show Continuous Variation without Specific Isolate × Barley Differential Interactions
J. Fungi 2024, 10(3), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10030184 - 28 Feb 2024
Abstract
Pyrenophora teres f. teres (Ptt), the causal agent of net form net blotch (NFNB) disease, is an important and widespread pathogen of barley. This study aimed to quantify and characterize the virulence of Ptt isolates collected from experimental fields of barley in Hungary. [...] Read more.
Pyrenophora teres f. teres (Ptt), the causal agent of net form net blotch (NFNB) disease, is an important and widespread pathogen of barley. This study aimed to quantify and characterize the virulence of Ptt isolates collected from experimental fields of barley in Hungary. Infection responses across 20 barley differentials were obtained from seedling assays of 34 Ptt isolates collected from three Hungarian breeding stations between 2008 and 2018. Twenty-eight Ptt pathotypes were identified. Correspondence analysis followed by hierarchical clustering on the principal components and host-by-pathogen GGE biplots suggested a continuous range of virulence and an absence of specific isolate × barley differential interactions. The isolates were classified into four isolate groups (IG) using agglomerative hierarchical clustering. One IG could be distinguished from other IGs based on avirulence/virulence on one to five barley differentials. Several barley differentials expressed strong resistance against multiple Ptt isolates and may be useful in the development of NFNB-resistant barley cultivars in Hungary. Our results emphasize that the previously developed international barley differential set needs to be improved and adapted to the Hungarian Ptt population. This is the first report on the pathogenic variations of Ptt in Hungary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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15 pages, 2634 KiB  
Article
Forecasting of Airborne Conidia Quantities and Potential Insect Associations of Cryphonectria parasitica, the Causal Agent of Chestnut Blight, in England
J. Fungi 2024, 10(3), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10030181 - 28 Feb 2024
Abstract
Sweet chestnut, an Asiatic tree introduced in many parts of Europe including the United Kingdom, is planted for nut production, timber, and amenity. Its major threat is the disease called blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, which infects through wounds by [...] Read more.
Sweet chestnut, an Asiatic tree introduced in many parts of Europe including the United Kingdom, is planted for nut production, timber, and amenity. Its major threat is the disease called blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, which infects through wounds by airborne spores. Field trapping using sticky rods rotating traps was performed in an infected area in Devon (between May 2021 and April 2023). An improved dual hydrolysis Taqman probes real-time PCR was used. The number of spores was calculated by comparing the cycle threshold to the Ct of standards with known amounts of conidia or known target fragment copies cloned into a plasmid. Weekly spore counts were in the range of around 60 to approximately 8.5 × 103, with fluctuations of peaks (mainly in late summer–autumn 2021) and troughs. The effects of weather parameters were modelled, finding correlations between spore numbers and temperature, humidity, dewpoint, rainfall, wind speed, and wind duration. Additionally, an insect trapping was performed to confirm the presence/absence and quantity of C. parasitica conidia potentially phoretic on some insects by using the same molecular approach. None of the ten collected insect species harboured spores of this fungus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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15 pages, 16477 KiB  
Article
Identification and Biological Characteristics of Mortierella alpina Associated with Chinese Flowering Cherry (Cerasus serrulata) Leaf Blight in China
J. Fungi 2024, 10(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10010050 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 951
Abstract
The Chinese flowering cherry (Cerasus serrulata), an ornamental tree with established medicinal values, is observed to suffer from leaf blight within Xi’an’s greenbelts. This disease threatens both the plant’s growth and its ornamental appeal. In this study, 26 isolates were obtained [...] Read more.
The Chinese flowering cherry (Cerasus serrulata), an ornamental tree with established medicinal values, is observed to suffer from leaf blight within Xi’an’s greenbelts. This disease threatens both the plant’s growth and its ornamental appeal. In this study, 26 isolates were obtained from plants with typical leaf blight, and only 3 isolates (XA-10, XA-15, and XA-18) were found to be pathogenic, causing similar symptoms on the leaves of the host plant. Based on sequence alignment, the ITS and LSU sequences of the three selected isolates were consistent, respectively. Following morphological and molecular analyses, the three selected isolates were further identified as Mortierella alpina. The three selected isolates exhibited similar morphological characteristics, including wavy colonies with dense, milky-white aerial mycelia on PDA medium. Therefore, isolate XA-10 was used as a representative strain for subsequent experiments. The representative strain XA-10 was found to exhibit optimal growth at a temperature of 30 °C and a pH of 7.0. Host range infection tests further revealed that the representative strain XA-10 could also inflict comparable disease symptoms on both the leaves and fruits of three different Rosaceae species (Prunus persica, Pyrus bretschneideri, and Prunus salicina). This study reveals, for the first time, the causative agent of leaf blight disease affecting the Chinese flowering cherry. This provides a deeper understanding of the biology and etiology of M. alpina. This study lays a solid foundation for the sustainable control and management of leaf blight disease in the Chinese flowering cherry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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15 pages, 6462 KiB  
Article
Benzalkonium Chloride and Benzethonium Chloride Effectively Reduce Spore Germination of Ginger Soft Rot Pathogens: Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum
J. Fungi 2024, 10(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10010008 - 22 Dec 2023
Viewed by 808
Abstract
Ginger soft rot is a serious soil-borne disease caused by Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum, resulting in reduced crop yields. The application of common chemical fungicides is considered to be an effective method of sterilization, and therefore, they pose a serious threat [...] Read more.
Ginger soft rot is a serious soil-borne disease caused by Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum, resulting in reduced crop yields. The application of common chemical fungicides is considered to be an effective method of sterilization, and therefore, they pose a serious threat to the environment and human health due to their high toxicity. Benzalkonium chloride (BAC) and benzethonium chloride (BEC) are two popular quaternary ammonium salts with a wide range of fungicidal effects. In this study, we investigated the fungicidal effects of BAC and BEC on soft rot disease of ginger as alternatives to common chemical fungicides. Two soft rot pathogens of ginger were successfully isolated from diseased ginger by using the spread plate method and sequenced as F. solani and F. oxysporum using the high-throughput fungal sequencing method. We investigated the fungicidal effects of BAC and BEC on F. solani and F. oxysporum, and we explored the antifungal mechanisms. Almost complete inactivation of spores of F. solani and F. oxysporum was observed at 100 mg/L fungicide concentration. Only a small amount of spore regrowth was observed after the inactivation treatment of spores of F. solani and F. oxysporum in soil, which proved that BAC and BEC have the potential to be used as an alternative to common chemical fungicides for soil disinfection of diseased ginger. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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0 pages, 3014 KiB  
Article
The Potential of Wild Yeasts as Promising Biocontrol Agents against Pine Canker Diseases
J. Fungi 2023, 9(8), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9080840 - 11 Aug 2023
Viewed by 761
Abstract
Native wild yeasts from forest ecosystems represent an interesting potential source of biocontrol organisms in synergy with disease-tolerant forest materials. Yeasts have a combination of competitive mechanisms and low requirements for their biotechnological application as biocontrol agents. The current study aimed to increase [...] Read more.
Native wild yeasts from forest ecosystems represent an interesting potential source of biocontrol organisms in synergy with disease-tolerant forest materials. Yeasts have a combination of competitive mechanisms and low requirements for their biotechnological application as biocontrol agents. The current study aimed to increase the number of biocontrol candidates against Fusarium circinatum and Diplodia sapinea. The enzymatic and antagonistic activities of the biocontrol candidates were evaluated using different screening methods, in which the direct impact on the growth of the pathogen was measured as well as some properties such as cellulose and lignin degradation, tolerance to biocides, volatile compound production, or iron effect, which may be of interest in biotechnological processes related to the management of forest diseases. A total of 58 yeast strains belonging to 21 different species were obtained from oak forest and vineyard ecosystems and evaluated. The application of yeast treatment behaved differently depending on the pathogen and the plant clone. The 2g isolate (Torulaspora delbrueckii) showed the highest inhibitory activity for D. sapinea and 25q and 90q (Saccharomyces paradoxus) for F. circinatum. Clones IN416 and IN216 were the most susceptible and the most tolerant to D. sapinea, respectively, while the opposite was observed for F. circinatum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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12 pages, 2373 KiB  
Article
LtGAPR1 Is a Novel Secreted Effector from Lasiodiplodia theobromae That Interacts with NbPsQ2 to Negatively Regulate Infection
J. Fungi 2023, 9(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9020188 - 31 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1105
Abstract
The effector proteins secreted by a pathogen not only promote the virulence and infection of the pathogen but also trigger plant defense response. Lasiodiplodia theobromae secretes many effectors that modulate and hijack grape processes to colonize host cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain [...] Read more.
The effector proteins secreted by a pathogen not only promote the virulence and infection of the pathogen but also trigger plant defense response. Lasiodiplodia theobromae secretes many effectors that modulate and hijack grape processes to colonize host cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Herein, we report LtGAPR1, which has been proven to be a secreted protein. In our study, LtGAPR1 played a negative role in virulence. By co-immunoprecipitation, 23 kDa oxygen-evolving enhancer 2 (NbPsbQ2) was identified as a host target of LtGAPR1. The overexpression of NbPsbQ2 in Nicotiana benthamiana reduced susceptibility to L. theobromae, and the silencing of NbPsbQ2 enhanced L. theobromae infection. LtGAPR1 and NbPsbQ2 were confirmed to interact with each other. Transiently, expressed LtGAPR1 activated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in N. benthamiana leaves. However, in NbPsbQ2-silenced leaves, ROS production was impaired. Overall, our report revealed that LtGAPR1 promotes ROS accumulation by interacting with NbPsbQ2, thereby triggering plant defenses that negatively regulate infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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16 pages, 1435 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Variation in the Population Structure of Spanish Fusarium circinatum Infecting Pine Stands
J. Fungi 2023, 9(2), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9020159 - 24 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
Fusarium circinatum is an introduced fungal pathogen extended to the northern regions of Spain that causes Pine Pitch Canker (PPC) disease. In this work, we analyzed the pathogen’s genetic diversity to study changes over time and space since the first outbreak occurred in [...] Read more.
Fusarium circinatum is an introduced fungal pathogen extended to the northern regions of Spain that causes Pine Pitch Canker (PPC) disease. In this work, we analyzed the pathogen’s genetic diversity to study changes over time and space since the first outbreak occurred in Spain. Using six polymorphic SSR markers, 15 MLGs were identified in 66 isolates, and only three haplotypes were found with frequencies higher than one. In general, genotypic diversity was low and decreased shortly over time in the northwestern regions while maintained at País Vasco, where only one haplotype (MLG32) was detected 10 years. This population also included isolates of a single mating type (MAT-2) and VCGs identified in only two groups, while isolates from NW regions were of both mating types and VCGs represented in 11 groups. The existence of haplotype MLG32 maintained on time and widely distributed suggests its good adaptation to the environment and the host. Results showed that the pathogen in País Vasco remains clearly differentiated from other northwestern populations. This fact was supported with no evidence of migration among regions. Results are explained by the asexual reproduction, but also selfing at least to a lesser extent that leads to identification of two new haplotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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Review

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22 pages, 3777 KiB  
Review
Insights into Diversity, Distribution, and Systematics of Rust Genus Puccinia
J. Fungi 2023, 9(6), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9060639 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1919
Abstract
Puccinia, which comprises 4000 species, is the largest genus of rust fungi and one of the destructive plant pathogenic rust genera that are reported to infect both agricultural and nonagricultural plants with severe illnesses. The presence of bi-celled teliospores is one of [...] Read more.
Puccinia, which comprises 4000 species, is the largest genus of rust fungi and one of the destructive plant pathogenic rust genera that are reported to infect both agricultural and nonagricultural plants with severe illnesses. The presence of bi-celled teliospores is one of the major features of these rust fungi that differentiated them from Uromyces, which is another largest genus of rust fungi. In the present study, an overview of the current knowledge on the general taxonomy and ecology of the rust genus Puccinia is presented. The status of the molecular identification of this genus along with updated species numbers and their current statuses in the 21st century are also presented, in addition to their threats to both agricultural and nonagricultural plants. Furthermore, a phylogenetic analysis based on ITS and LSU DNA sequence data available in GenBank and the published literature was performed to examine the intergeneric relationships of Puccinia. The obtained results revealed the worldwide distribution of Puccinia. Compared with other nations, a reasonable increase in research publications over the current century was demonstrated in Asian countries. The plant families Asteraceae and Poaceae were observed as the most infected in the 21st century. The phylogenetic studies of the LSU and ITS sequence data revealed the polyphyletic nature of Puccinia. In addition, the presences of too short, too lengthy, and incomplete sequences in the NCBI database demonstrate the need for extensive DNA-based analyses for a better understanding of the taxonomic placement of Puccinia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogens and Host Plants)
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