|Authors: ||S.R. Noumeur, V. Mancini, G. Romanazzi|
|Keywords: ||gray mold, wormwood roots, biocontrol agents, Penicillium spp|
The main postharvest decay of table grapes (Vitis vinifera) is gray mold, caused by Botrytis cinerea. An alternative to the use of synthetic fungicides to control postharvest diseases relies in the application of naturally occurring microorganisms.
Among them, endophytes have been proposed as promising biocontrol agents.
These organisms reside in the plant tissues as symbiotic microbes or opportunistic pathogens, and they can produce a plethora of compounds.
This research aimed to study the activity of 12 endophytic fungi isolated from wormwood roots (Artemisia absinthium) against B. cinerea. All isolates except B16C39 were not able to infect intact or wounded berries.
The antagonistic activity of all the isolated fungi was evaluated in vitro and in vivo.
In dual culture with B. cinerea, endophytes reduced radial fungal growth from 33 to 50%, with the highest inhibition halo found with isolate B11C29. All the biocontrol agents were effective during in vivo trials when used at 106 spores mL-1. Three of the fungal strains, B14C35, B6C18, preliminarly identified as Penicillium sp., and B9C22 (still not identified) significantly reduced both percentage of infected berries and lesion diameter as compared to the water treated control.
Full identification of these promising biocontrol agents is in progress.
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