Special Issue "Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David Turrà
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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Portici, Italy
Interests: polarity; genetics; microbial interactions; plant–pathogen interaction
Dr. Stefania Vitale
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Guest Editor
Departamento de Genética, Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario ceiA3, Universidad de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
Interests: chemotropism; fungal genetics; molecular biology; quorum sensing; microbiology
Dr. Sheridan Lois Woo
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy
Interests: beneficial plant-microbe interactions; biological control; sustainable agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesco Vinale
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Naples, Italy
Interests: secondary metabolites; Trichoderma; biocontrol; plant growth promotion; disease resistance; metabolome; beneficial microbe consortia
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last century, a plethora of fungal microorganisms exerting beneficial effects on a wide variety of plant species have been described and characterized. Some of them enhance plant growth and yield production either by secreting volatile (VOCs) or nonvolatile metabolites or by directly interacting with plant roots and increasing nutrient availability or accessibility (i.e., fungal symbionts). Others modulate plant fitness indirectly through antibiosis, parasitism or competition with some of the biotic threats that compose the root microbiota and that continuously influence plant health throughout its entire life cycle (i.e., endophytes, entomopathogenic, mycoparasitic, and nematophagous fungi). Similarly, nonpathogenic isolates of closely related deadly pathogenic fungi offer protection to plants by modulating their resistance potential via induction of defense responses.

Despite major advances have been achieved in the last few decades on the modes of action employed by different beneficial fungal species, the molecular determinants of the crosstalk laying at the base of these fascinating fungal–plant or fungal–pathogen interactions are still far away from being clearly understood. Some of the main unresolved questions regard how and which microbial- or plant-derived signals mediate direct or indirect beneficial effects on plants and in microbiota composition. In this context, recent findings have also highlighted that harmed plants have the potential to reshape their root microbiome via the recruitment of beneficial microorganisms. Which fungal species act as plant “helpers” and the interkingdom dialogue occurring during plant–pathogen–helper tripartite interactions is still poorly understood.

In this context, Pathogens will launch a Special Issue devoted to “Beneficial Fungal Interactions with Plants or with Plant Pathogens”. This Special Issue will focus on those fungal species (and/or natural compounds) which mediate a positive effect on plant physiology or health status and will include both original research and review articles covering all aspects of the signaling events occurring among beneficial fungi, pathogens, and plants and leading to a positive output in terms of plant fitness (i.e., nutrient acquisition, growth promotion, and disease resistance).

Dr. David Turrà
Dr. Stefania Vitale
Dr. Sheridan Lois Woo
Dr. Francesco Vinale
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. Pathogens 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.

Keywords

  • beneficial fungi
  • plant–microbe interaction
  • fungus–microbe interaction
  • mycoparasitism
  • competition
  • induced resistance
  • plant growth promotion
  • fungal symbiosis
  • bioactive metabolites
  • microbiota
  • entomopathogenic fungi and nematophagous fungi

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Metabolic Profile and Mycoherbicidal Activity of Three Alternaria alternata Isolates for the Control of Convolvulus arvensis, Sonchus oleraceus, and Xanthium strumarium
Pathogens 2021, 10(11), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10111448 - 07 Nov 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Alternaria alternata isolates C1, S1, and X3 were isolated respectively from the weeds Convolvulus arvensis, Sonchus oleraceus, and Xanthium strumarium in Algiers during 2016 and identified by morphological and molecular analyses. The aim of this investigation was to chemically characterize the [...] Read more.
Alternaria alternata isolates C1, S1, and X3 were isolated respectively from the weeds Convolvulus arvensis, Sonchus oleraceus, and Xanthium strumarium in Algiers during 2016 and identified by morphological and molecular analyses. The aim of this investigation was to chemically characterize the exometabolome of these fungi and to evaluate the myco-herbicidal potential of their culture filtrates, crude extracts, or fractions towards target weeds. Results revealed a great heterogeneity in the biochemical profiles of the exometabolome with the remarkable presence of two compounds: tenuazonic acid (TeA) and triprenyl phenol-7 (SMTP-7). To the best of our knowledge, SMTP-7—found in all the isolates—as well as 12-methoxycitromycin detected in the culture filtrate of isolate C1, have never been reported to be produced by A. alternata. Some fractions of isolates C1 and S1 showed symptoms (necrosis and chlorosis) on the detached leaves of C. arvensis and S. oleraceus, respectively with up to 100% phytotoxic effect at low concentration. In conclusion, biochemical characterization revealed great difference of C1, S1, and X3 exometabolome that is likely to explain the difference in their phytotoxic activity. Some fractions (d1, e1, h1, i1, a2, and f2) of isolates C1 and S1 of A. alternata caused severe necrosis and chlorosis on the injured detached leaves of C. arvensis and S. oleraceus, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Selection of Endophytic Beauveria bassiana as a Dual Biocontrol Agent of Tomato Pathogens and Pests
Pathogens 2021, 10(10), 1242; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10101242 - 26 Sep 2021
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Endophytic fungi (EF) can enhance both plant growth and defense barriers against pests and pathogens, contributing to the reduction of chemical pesticides and fertilizers use in agriculture. Beauveria bassiana is an entomopathogenic fungus showing endophytism in several crops, often associated with a good [...] Read more.
Endophytic fungi (EF) can enhance both plant growth and defense barriers against pests and pathogens, contributing to the reduction of chemical pesticides and fertilizers use in agriculture. Beauveria bassiana is an entomopathogenic fungus showing endophytism in several crops, often associated with a good capacity to limit the development of pests and disease agents. However, the diversity of the protective efficacy and plant response to different strains can be remarkable and needs to be carefully assessed for the successful and predictable use of these beneficial microorganisms. This study aims to select B. bassiana strains able to colonize tomato plants as endophytes as well as to control two important disease agents, Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria alternata, and the pest aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae. Nine wild-type isolates and one commercial strain were screened for endophytism, then further characterized for plant-growth promotion plus inhibition of disease development and pest infestation. Four isolates proved to have a good control activity against the biotic stressors tested, but only Bb716 was also able to promote plant growth. This work provides a simple workflow for the selection of beneficial EF, paving the way towards more effective use of B. bassiana in Integrate Pest Management (IPM) of tomato. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Phytohormone Production Profiles in Trichoderma Species and Their Relationship to Wheat Plant Responses to Water Stress
Pathogens 2021, 10(8), 991; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10080991 - 06 Aug 2021
Viewed by 694
Abstract
The production of eight phytohormones by Trichoderma species is described, as well as the 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase (ACCD) activity, which diverts the ethylene biosynthetic pathway in plants. The use of the Trichoderma strains T. virens T49, T. longibrachiatum T68, T. spirale T75 [...] Read more.
The production of eight phytohormones by Trichoderma species is described, as well as the 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase (ACCD) activity, which diverts the ethylene biosynthetic pathway in plants. The use of the Trichoderma strains T. virens T49, T. longibrachiatum T68, T. spirale T75 and T. harzianum T115 served to demonstrate the diverse production of the phytohormones gibberellins (GA) GA1 and GA4, abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), auxin (indole-3-acetic acid: IAA) and the cytokinins (CK) dihydrozeatin (DHZ), isopenteniladenine (iP) and trans-zeatin (tZ) in this genus. Such production is dependent on strain and/or culture medium. These four strains showed different degrees of wheat root colonization. Fresh and dry weights, conductance, H2O2 content and antioxidant activities such as superoxide dismutase, peroxidase and catalase were analyzed, under optimal irrigation and water stress conditions, on 30-days-old wheat plants treated with four-day-old Trichoderma cultures, obtained from potato dextrose broth (PDB) and PDB-tryptophan (Trp). The application of Trichoderma PDB cultures to wheat plants could be linked to the plants’ ability to adapt the antioxidant machinery and to tolerate water stress. Plants treated with PDB cultures of T49 and T115 had the significantly highest weights under water stress. Compared to controls, treatments with strains T68 and T75, with constrained GA1 and GA4 production, resulted in smaller plants regardless of fungal growth medium and irrigation regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Bioformulations with Beneficial Microbial Consortia, a Bioactive Compound and Plant Biopolymers Modulate Sweet Basil Productivity, Photosynthetic Activity and Metabolites
Pathogens 2021, 10(7), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10070870 - 10 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
Increasing attention is being given to the development of innovative formulations to substitute the use of synthetic chemicals to improve agricultural production and resource use efficiency. Alternatives can include biological products containing beneficial microorganisms and bioactive metabolites able to inhibit plant pathogens, induce [...] Read more.
Increasing attention is being given to the development of innovative formulations to substitute the use of synthetic chemicals to improve agricultural production and resource use efficiency. Alternatives can include biological products containing beneficial microorganisms and bioactive metabolites able to inhibit plant pathogens, induce systemic resistance and promote plant growth. The efficacy of such bioformulations can be increased by the addition of polymers as adjuvants or carriers. Trichoderma afroharzianum T22, Azotobacter chroococcum 76A and 6-pentyl-α-pyrone (6PP; a Trichoderma secondary metabolite) were administrated singularly or in a consortium, with or without a carboxymethyl cellulose-based biopolymer (BP), and tested on sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) grown in a protected greenhouse. The effect of the treatments on basil yield, photosynthetic activity and secondary metabolites production was assessed. Photosynthetic efficiency was augmented by the applications of the bioformulations. The applications to the rhizosphere with BP + 6PP and BP + T22 + 76A increased the total fresh weight of basil by 26.3% and 23.6%, respectively. Untargeted LC-MS qTOF analysis demonstrated that the plant metabolome was significantly modified by the treatments. Quantification of the profiles for the major phenolic acids indicated that the treatment with the T22 + 76A consortium increased rosmarinic acid content by 110%. The use of innovative bioformulations containing microbes, their metabolites and a biopolymer was found to modulate the cultivation of fresh basil by improving yield and quality, thus providing the opportunity to develop farming systems with minimal impact on the environmental footprint from the agricultural production process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
An Endophytic Fungi-Based Biostimulant Modulates Volatile and Non-Volatile Secondary Metabolites and Yield of Greenhouse Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) through Variable Mechanisms Dependent on Salinity Stress Level
Pathogens 2021, 10(7), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10070797 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Salinity in water and soil is one of the major environmental factors limiting the productivity of agronomic and horticultural crops. In basil (Ocimum basilicum L., Lamiaceae) and other Ocimum species, information on the plant response to mild salinity levels, often induced by [...] Read more.
Salinity in water and soil is one of the major environmental factors limiting the productivity of agronomic and horticultural crops. In basil (Ocimum basilicum L., Lamiaceae) and other Ocimum species, information on the plant response to mild salinity levels, often induced by the irrigation or fertigation systems, is scarce. In the present work, we tested the effectiveness of a microbial-based biostimulant containing two strains of arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (AMF) and Trichoderma koningii in sustaining greenhouse basil yield traits, subjected to two mild salinity stresses (25 mM [low] and 50 mM [high] modulated by augmenting the fertigation osmotic potential with NaCl) compared to a non-stressed control. The impact of salinity stress was further appraised in terms of plant physiology, morphological ontogenesis and composition in polyphenols and volatile organic compounds (VOC). As expected, increasing the salinity of the solution strongly depressed the plant yield, nutrient uptake and concentration, reduced photosynthetic activity and leaf water potential, increased the Na and Cl and induced the accumulation of polyphenols. In addition, it decreased the concentration of Eucalyptol and β-Linalool, two of its main essential oil constituents. Irrespective of the salinity stress level, the multispecies inoculum strongly benefited plant growth, leaf number and area, and the accumulation of Ca, Mg, B, p-coumaric and chicoric acids, while it reduced nitrate and Cl concentrations in the shoots and affected the concentration of some minor VOC constituents. The benefits derived from the inoculum in term of yield and quality harnessed different mechanisms depending on the degree of stress. under low-stress conditions, the inoculum directly stimulated the photosynthetic activity after an increase of the Fe and Mn availability for the plants and induced the accumulation of caffeic and rosmarinic acids. under high stress conditions, the inoculum mostly acted directly on the sequestration of Na and the increase of P availability for the plant, moreover it stimulated the accumulation of polyphenols, especially of ferulic and chicoric acids and quercetin-rutinoside in the shoots. Notably, the inoculum did not affect the VOC composition, thus suggesting that its activity did not interact with the essential oil biosynthesis. These results clearly indicate that beneficial inocula constitute a valuable tool for sustaining yield and improving or sustaining quality under suboptimal water quality conditions imposing low salinity stress on horticultural crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Article
Organic Amendments Modulate Soil Microbiota and Reduce Virus Disease Incidence in the TSWV-Tomato Pathosystem
Pathogens 2020, 9(5), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9050379 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Application of organic amendments is considered an eco-friendly practice to promote soil fertility and suppressiveness against a wide range of soil-borne pathogens. However, limited information is available about the capabilities of organic amendments to control virus disease. In this study, the suppressiveness of [...] Read more.
Application of organic amendments is considered an eco-friendly practice to promote soil fertility and suppressiveness against a wide range of soil-borne pathogens. However, limited information is available about the capabilities of organic amendments to control virus disease. In this study, the suppressiveness of different organic amendments (i.e., compost manure, biochar, alfalfa straw, and glucose) was determined against the Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) on tomato plants in a 1-year-long mesocosm experiment. Organic treatments were compared to the ordinary soil management based on mineral fertilizers and fumigation. Tomato seedlings were inoculated with TSWV and the infection and symptoms were assessed three weeks later. The disease incidence was higher in soil treated with mineral fertilizers and fumigation (>80%) compared to the application of organic amendments, with alfalfa straw and biochar recording the lowest incidence (<40%). Moreover, soil microbiota structure and diversity were assessed by high-throughput sequencing of bacterial and eukaryotic rRNA gene markers. Several members belonging to the bacterial phyla of Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria, as well as members of the fungal genus Acremonium, were positively associated with plant health. This study showed that conventional practices, by shifting microbiome composition, may increase TSWV incidence and severity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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Review

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Review
Medicinal Plants and Their Bacterial Microbiota: A Review on Antimicrobial Compounds Production for Plant and Human Health
Pathogens 2021, 10(2), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10020106 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1500
Abstract
Medicinal plants (MPs) have been used since antiquity in traditional and popular medicine, and they represent a very important source of bioactive molecules, including antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal molecules. Such compounds are often of plant origin, but in some cases, an origin or [...] Read more.
Medicinal plants (MPs) have been used since antiquity in traditional and popular medicine, and they represent a very important source of bioactive molecules, including antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal molecules. Such compounds are often of plant origin, but in some cases, an origin or a modification from plant microbiota has been shown. Actually, the research continues to report the production of bioactive molecules by plants, but the role of plant–endophytic interaction is emerging. Classic examples are mainly concerned with fungal endophytes; however, it has been recently shown that bacterial endophytes can also play an important role in influencing the plant metabolism related to the synthesis of bioactive compounds. In spite of this, a deep investigation on the power of MP bacterial endophytes is lacking. Here, an overview of the studies on MP bacterial microbiota and its role in the production of plant antimicrobial compounds contributing to prime host defense system and representing a huge resource for biotech and therapeutic applications is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Plant–Fungal Interactions)
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