Special Issue "Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Protection and Biotic Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sotiris Tjamos
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Phytopathology, Agricultural University of Athens, 11855 Athens, Greece
Interests: biological control; epigenetics; microbial volatile organic conmpounds; plant–microbe interactions; soil-borne diseases
Dr. Jesús Mercado-Blanco
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Crop Protection, Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, CSIC, 14004 Cordoba, Spain
Interests: banana; beneficial endophytes; biological control; integrated disease management; olive; omics; plant–microbe interactions; Pseudomonas; Rhizosphere microbiology; soil-borne diseases
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Verticillium wilt disease has been the subject of various investigations throughout many years; however, it remains a major economic challenge in cropping systems across the world. The genus Verticillium consists of phytopathogenic species that cause vascular wilts in plants. The most significant species are V. dahliae, V. albo-atrum, and V. longisporum. The fungus survives in the soil, mainly in the form of microsclerotia, invades the plant through the root system, colonizes the vasculature, and eventually leads to plant death. Due to its prolonged survival in the field in the absence of a host, wide host range, inaccessibility during infection, and limited resistance in host germplasm, the genus Verticillium causes heavy economic losses in annual and perennial crops worldwide.

Verticillium wilt disease management is based on soil fumigation, when no resistant varieties exist, but methyl bromide, the most efficient fumigant, has been banned due to its toxic and adverse environmental effects. Once the pathogen enters the plant, it is inaccessible to chemicals. Therefore, we should consider novel sustainable integrated disease management strategies based on advanced chemical, biochemical, and molecular methodologies. This Special Issue of Plants will highlight cultural practices minimizing the primary Verticillium inoculum in the field, Verticillium–host plant interactions underlying resistance, early detection methods of Verticillium wilt, novel chemicals, biological control agents, and integrated disease management strategies.

Dr. Sotiris Tjamos
Dr. Jesus Mercado-Blanco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Verticillium spp.
  • detection methods
  • chemical control
  • biological control
  • plant–pathogen interactions
  • resistant varieties
  • integrated disease management strategies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Ethylene Biosynthesis Genes ACS2 and ACS6 Modulate Disease Severity of Verticillium dahliae
Plants 2020, 9(7), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070907 - 17 Jul 2020
Abstract
Verticillium dahliae is one of the most destructive soilborne plant pathogens since it has a broad host range and there is no chemical disease management. Therefore, there is a need to unravel the molecular interaction between the pathogen and the host plant. For [...] Read more.
Verticillium dahliae is one of the most destructive soilborne plant pathogens since it has a broad host range and there is no chemical disease management. Therefore, there is a need to unravel the molecular interaction between the pathogen and the host plant. For this purpose, we examined the role of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthases (ACSs) of Arabidopsis thaliana upon V. dahliae infection. We observed that the acs2, acs6, and acs2/6 plants are partially resistant to V. dahliae, since the disease severity of the acs mutants was lower than the wild type (wt) Col-0 plants. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that acs2, acs6, and acs2/6 plants had lower endophytic levels of V. dahliae than the wt. Therefore, the observed reduction of the disease severity in the acs mutants is rather associated with resistance than tolerance. It was also shown that ACS2 and ACS6 were upregulated upon V. dahliae infection in the root and the above ground tissues of the wt plants. Furthermore, the addition of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) and aminooxyacetic acid (AOA), the competitive inhibitor of ACS, in wt A. thaliana, before or after V. dahliae inoculation, revealed that both substances decreased Verticillium wilt symptoms compared to controls irrespectively of the application time. Therefore, our results suggest that the mechanism underpinning the partial resistance of acs2 and acs6 seem to be ethylene depended rather than ACC related, since the application of ACC in the wt led to decreased disease severity compared to control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Verticillium Wilt in Oilseed Rape—the Microbiome is Crucial for Disease Outbreaks as Well as for Efficient Suppression
Plants 2020, 9(7), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070866 - 08 Jul 2020
Abstract
Microbiome management is a promising way to suppress verticillium wilt, a severe disease in Brassica caused by Verticillium longisporum. In order to improve current biocontrol strategies, we compared bacterial Verticillium antagonists in different assays using a hierarchical selection and evaluation scheme, and [...] Read more.
Microbiome management is a promising way to suppress verticillium wilt, a severe disease in Brassica caused by Verticillium longisporum. In order to improve current biocontrol strategies, we compared bacterial Verticillium antagonists in different assays using a hierarchical selection and evaluation scheme, and we integrated outcomes of our previous studies. The result was strongly dependent on the assessment method chosen (in vitro, in vivo, in situ), on the growth conditions of the plants and their genotype. The most promising biocontrol candidate identified was a Brassica endophyte Serratia plymuthica F20. Positive results were confirmed in field trials and by microscopically visualizing the three-way interaction. Applying antagonists in seed treatment contributes to an exceptionally low ecological footprint, supporting efficient economic and ecological solutions to controlling verticillium wilt. Indigenous microbiome, especially soil and seed microbiome, has been identified as key to understanding disease outbreaks and suppression. We suggest that verticillium wilt is a microbiome-driven disease caused by a reduction in microbial diversity within seeds and in the soil surrounding them. We strongly recommend integrating microbiome data in the development of new biocontrol and breeding strategies and combining both strategies with the aim of designing healthy microbiomes, thus making plants more resilient toward soil-borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Verticillium Wilt on Photosynthesis Rate, Lint Production, and Fiber Quality of Greenhouse-Grown Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum)
Plants 2020, 9(7), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070857 - 07 Jul 2020
Abstract
Verticillium wilt, caused by Verticillium dahliae Kleb., leads to significant losses in cotton yield and fiber quality worldwide. To investigate Verticillium wilt impact on photosynthesis rate, yield, and fiber quality, six upland cotton genotypes, namely Verticillium susceptible (DP 1612 B2XF) and partially resistant [...] Read more.
Verticillium wilt, caused by Verticillium dahliae Kleb., leads to significant losses in cotton yield and fiber quality worldwide. To investigate Verticillium wilt impact on photosynthesis rate, yield, and fiber quality, six upland cotton genotypes, namely Verticillium susceptible (DP 1612 B2XF) and partially resistant (FM 2484B2F) commercial cultivars and four breeding lines, were grown to maturity under greenhouse conditions in soil either infested or not infested with V. dahliae microsclerotia. Photosynthetic rate, lint, and seed yield were all higher (p < 0.05) for FM 2484B2F than DP 1612 B2XF when infected with V. dahliae. When comparing healthy (H) to Verticillium wilt (VW) affected plants, fiber properties were greatly impacted. Micronaire decreased from 5.0 (H) to 3.6 (VW) with DP 1612 B2XF and 4.4 (H) to 4.1 (VW) with FM 2484B2F. The maturity ratio decreased from 0.90 (H) to 0.83 (VW) for DP 1612 B2XF and was unchanged for FM 2484B2F (0.90). Fiber properties such as short fiber content, nep count, fineness, and immature fiber content were also significantly affected under Verticillium wilt pressure. With Verticillium wilt affected plants, lines 16-13-601V and 17-17-206V performed similarly to FM 2484B2F for photosynthetic rate, yield, and all fiber properties measured. When selecting for improved cultivars in the presence of Verticillium wilt, it is important to select for relatively unchanged fiber properties under disease pressure in addition to reduced disease severity and increased yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in the Phenolic Compounds of Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Induced by Infection with Verticillium nonalfalfae, the Causal Agent of Hop Verticillium Wilt
Plants 2020, 9(7), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070841 - 03 Jul 2020
Abstract
Phenolic compounds are involved in plant responses to various biotic and abiotic stress factors, with many studies suggesting their role in defense mechanisms against fungal pathogens. Soilborne vascular pathogen Verticillium nonalfalfae causes severe wilting and consequent dieback in a wide range of economically [...] Read more.
Phenolic compounds are involved in plant responses to various biotic and abiotic stress factors, with many studies suggesting their role in defense mechanisms against fungal pathogens. Soilborne vascular pathogen Verticillium nonalfalfae causes severe wilting and consequent dieback in a wide range of economically important crops, including hops (Humulus lupulus L.). In this study, we investigated the differential accumulation of phenolics in the susceptible “Celeia” and resistant “Wye Target” hop cultivars during the pathogenesis of Verticillium wilt. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that colonization in the roots of both cultivars was intensive, but decreased continuously throughout the experiment in the resistant cultivar, while the relative fungal amount continuously increased in the stems of the susceptible cultivar. In response to colonization in the roots of the resistant cultivar, a significant increase in total flavanols was detected at three days postinoculation (dpi), suggesting a possible role in preventing fungus spread into the stems. The accumulation of phenolic compounds was less pronounced in the stems of the resistant cultivar since, compared to the latter, significant increases in flavonols at 3 and 15 dpi and hydroxycinnamic acids at 6 dpi were observed in the stems of the susceptible cultivar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Co-Occurrence of Defoliating and Non-Defoliating Pathotypes of Verticillium Dahliae in Field-Grown Cotton Plants in New South Wales, Australia
Plants 2020, 9(6), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060750 - 15 Jun 2020
Abstract
Verticillium wilt (VW) is a major constraint to cotton production in Australia and worldwide. The disease is caused by a soilborne fungus, Verticillium dahliae, a highly virulent pathogen on cotton. Commonly, V. dahliae is designated into two pathotypes: defoliating (D) and non-defoliating [...] Read more.
Verticillium wilt (VW) is a major constraint to cotton production in Australia and worldwide. The disease is caused by a soilborne fungus, Verticillium dahliae, a highly virulent pathogen on cotton. Commonly, V. dahliae is designated into two pathotypes: defoliating (D) and non-defoliating (ND), based on induced symptoms. In the previous two survey seasons between 2017 and 2019, stems with suspected VW were sampled for the confirmation of presence and distribution of D and ND pathotypes across New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A total of 151 and 84 VW-suspected stems sampled from the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, respectively, were subjected to pathogen isolation. Of these, 94 and 57 stems were positive for V. dahliae; and 18 and 20 stems sampled respectively from the two seasons yielded the D pathotype isolates. Two stems from the 2017/18 season and one stem from 2018/19 season yielded both D and ND pathotype isolates. We also successfully demonstrated the co-infection of both pathotypes in pot trials, which was driven predominantly by either of the pathotypes, and appeared independent on vegetative growth, fecundity and spore germination traits. Our study is the first report of the natural co-occurrence of both D and ND pathotypes in same field-grown cotton plants in NSW, to which a challenge to the disease management will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Management of Verticillium Wilt of Avocado Using Tolerant Rootstocks
Plants 2020, 9(4), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040531 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The global avocado industry is growing, and farmers are seeking to expand their plantations. However, many lands suitable for avocado planting were previously cultivated with hosts of the soil-borne fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae, which is the causal agent of Verticillium wilt (VW). [...] Read more.
The global avocado industry is growing, and farmers are seeking to expand their plantations. However, many lands suitable for avocado planting were previously cultivated with hosts of the soil-borne fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae, which is the causal agent of Verticillium wilt (VW). VW can seriously impair avocado orchards, and therefore, planting on infested soil is not recommended. The use of different rootstock types allows avocado cultivation in various regions with diverse biotic and abiotic constraints. Hence, we tested whether genetic variance among rootstocks may also be used to manage avocado VW. Six hundred trees, mostly Hass and some Ettinger, grafted on 23 selected rootstocks were evaluated for five years in a highly V. dahliae-inoculated plot for VW symptoms, fungal infection, and productivity. The selected rootstocks displayed a significant variation related to VW tolerance, and productive avocado rootstocks with potential VW tolerance were identified. Moreover, the rootstock productivity appears to correlate negatively to the susceptibility level. In conclusion, planting susceptible rootstocks (e.g., VC66, VC152, and VC26) in infested soil increases the likelihood of massive tree loss and low productivity. Whereas, tolerant rootstocks (e.g., VC804 and Dusa) may restrict VW and enable avocado cultivation on infested soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Verticillium Wilt of Olive and Its Control: What Did We Learn during the Last Decade?
Plants 2020, 9(6), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060735 - 11 Jun 2020
Abstract
Verticillium (Verticillium dahliae Kleb.) wilt is one of the most devastating diseases affecting olive (Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. europaea) cultivation. Its effective control strongly relies on integrated management strategies. Olive cultivation systems are experiencing important changes (e.g., high-density [...] Read more.
Verticillium (Verticillium dahliae Kleb.) wilt is one of the most devastating diseases affecting olive (Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. europaea) cultivation. Its effective control strongly relies on integrated management strategies. Olive cultivation systems are experiencing important changes (e.g., high-density orchards, etc.) aiming at improving productivity. The impact of these changes on soil biology and the incidence/severity of olive pests and diseases has not yet been sufficiently evaluated. A comprehensive understanding of the biology of the pathogen and its populations, the epidemiological factors contributing to exacerbating the disease, the underlying mechanisms of tolerance/resistance, and the involvement of the olive-associated microbiota in the tree’s health is needed. This knowledge will be instrumental to developing more effective control measures to confront the disease in regions where the pathogen is present, or to exclude it from V. dahliae-free areas. This review compiles the most recent advances achieved to understand the olive–V. dahliae interaction as well as measures to control the disease. Aspects such as the molecular basis of the host–pathogen interaction, the identification of new biocontrol agents, the implementation of “-omics” approaches to unravel the basis of disease tolerance, and the utilization of remote sensing technology for the early detection of pathogen attacks are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Verticillium Wilt Disease)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Tentative title: Crop rotation modifies soil microbial communities affecting Verticillium dahliae disease in cotton crops

Authors: Vadakattu VSR Gupta, Linda Smith et al.

Abstract: Soilborne diseases such as Verticillium wilt have significant impact on cotton production in Australia. Currently there are limited management options to reduce disease impacts through the selection of genetically resistant cultivars and agrochemical application. Biological disease suppression mediated by soil microorganisms can assist farmers in reducing the disease impacts on cotton production through crop management. We present results from a multi-season field experiment in Australia investigating the impact of crop rotations on microbial diversity and activity and its implications to pathogen and disease suppression. Overall, our results suggest that soil ecological and environmental factors and filtering processes related to substrate quality and availability, spatially and temporally, play a significant role in shaping soil microbial communities and their functionality.

Title: Role of mycorrhizal fungi in protecting crops against verticillium wilt under climate change scenarios
Authors: Nieves Goicoechea
Affiliation: Universidad de Navarra, Facultad de Ciencias, Grupo de Fisiología del Estrés en Plantas (Departamento de Biología Ambiental), Unidad Asociada al CSIC (EEAD, Zaragoza, ICVV, Logroño), c/ Irunlarrea 1, 31008, Pamplona, Spain
Abstract: The association that many crops can establish with the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) present in soils can enhance the resistance of the host plants against several pathogens, including Verticillium spp. This is the case of pepper, strawberry or cotton, for example. The increased resistance of mycorrhizal plants was mainly due to improved nutritional and water status of crops, and to enhanced antioxidant metabolism and/or increased production of secondary metabolites in the plant tissues. The effectiveness of AMF in protecting their host plants against Verticillium spp., however, may vary depending on the genus or species of AMF colonizing plant roots, the interaction of AMF with other agricultural amendments and/or the environmental factors. Some environmental factors, such as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the availability of soil water and the air and soil temperatures are predicted to change drastically by the end of the century. Significant changes in those parameters will affect both primary and secondary metabolism of plants as well as the pathways related to plant defence against pests and pathogens. Environmental changes are also expected to directly influence mycorrhizal communities in soils and the development of Verticillium wilt in crops. The present review discusses to what extent the predicted climate change may influence the role of AMF in protecting crops against Verticillium-induced wilt.

Title: Polyphenolic compounds in the resistance response to the verticillium wilt of hop and their antifungal activity
Authors: Sabina Berne 1; Nataša Kovačević 1; Branka Javornik 1; Sebastjan Radišek 2
Affiliation: 1 Department of Agronomy, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeava 101, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia 2 Slovenian Institute of Hop Research and Brewing, Cesta Žalskega tabora 2, 3310 Žalec, Slovenia
Abstract: Verticillium wilt (VW) of hop is a devastating disease caused by the soil-borne fungi Verticillium nonalfalfae and Verticillium dahliae. To date, despite decades of intense research, breeding of resistant hop varieties remains the most effective measure for controlling this disease. As suggested by QTL mapping and RNA-Seq analyses, the underlying molecular mechanisms of resistance in hop are complex, consisting of preformed and induced defence responses, including the synthesis of diverse phenolic compounds. Here, we determined the total polyphenolic content in root and stem samples of 15 hop varieties in correlation to VW resistance. In addition, we examined the changes in the total polyphenolic content of VW resistant and susceptible hop varieties upon infection with lethal V. nonalfalfae strain T2. Moreover, we measured the antifungal activity of selected commercial phenolic compounds and total polyphenols extracted from resistant and susceptible hop varieties on the growth of lethal (T2) and mild (Rec) strains of V. nonalfalfae. Our results show that the total polyphenol content was higher in hop roots than in stems, with difference being more pronounced at the beginning of hop growing season, and the amount increasing with the duration of growing season. The highest amount of polyphenols was determined in the resistant variety 'Wye Target' but, upon infection, the total polyphenol content decreased in all tested varieties. The highest inhibition of fungal growth was measured upon treatment with p-coumaric acid and tyrosol. The total polyphenolic extracts from resistant and susceptible hop on the growth of mild and lethal isolates of V. nonalfalfae had very similar antifungal activity. In conclusion, appart for the highly resistant variety 'Wye Target', we could not find a good correlation between the polyphenolic content and VW resistance. Contrary, we observed that the total polyphenolic content in all tested hop varieties decreased upon infection with V. nonalfalfae, suggesting fungus likely possesses certain detoxifying mechanisms to counter hop antifungal polyphenolic compounds.

Title: The ethylene biosynthesis genes ACS2 and ACS6 act as negative regulators of disease resistance against Verticillium dahliae
Authors: Eirini G. Poulaki; Danai Gkizi; Sotirios E. Tjamos
Affiliation: Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Abstract: Verticillium dahliae is one of the most destructive soilborne plant pathogen, since it has a broad host range and there is no chemical disease management. Therefore, there is a need to unravel the molecular interaction between the pathogen and the host plant. For this purpose, we examined the role of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthases (ACSs) upon V. dahliae infection. We observed that the acs2, acs6 and acs2/6 plants are partially resistant to V. dahliae, since the disease severity of the acs mutants was lower than the wt Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 plants. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that acs2, acs6 and acs2/6 plants had lower endophytic levels of V. dahliae than the wt. Therefore, the observed reduction of the disease severity in the acs mutants is rather associated with resistance than tolerance. Furthermore, it was shown that ACS2 and ACS6 were up-regulated upon V. dahliae infection in the root and the above ground tissues of the wt plants.

Title: Verticillium Wilt of Mint in the United States
Authors: Jeremiah K.S. Dung
Affiliation: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Central Oregon Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University, Madras, OR, USA
Abstract: Verticillium wilt, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae, is the most important and destructive disease of mint (Mentha spp.) in the United States (U.S.). The disease was first reported from commercial mint fields in the Midwestern U.S. in the 1920’s and, by the 1950’s, the disease was observed in mint producing regions of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Verticillium wilt continues to be a major limiting factor in commercial peppermint (M. x piperita) and Scotch spearmint (M. x gracilis) production, two of the most important sources of mint oil in the U.S. The perennial aspect of U.S. mint production, coupled with the soilborne, polyetic nature of V. dahliae, makes controlling Verticillium wilt in mint a challenge. Studies investigating the biology and genetics of the fungus, the molecular mechanisms of virulence and resistance, and the role of soil microbiota in modulating host-pathogen interactions are needed to improve our understanding of Verticillium wilt epidemiology and inform novel disease management strategies. This review will discuss the history and importance of Verticillium wilt in commercial U.S. mint production, as well as provide a format to highlight past and recent research advances in an effort to better understand and manage the disease.

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