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Fusarium Head Blight Modifies Fungal Endophytic Communities During Infection of Wheat Spikes.


ABSTRACT: Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating disease of wheat heads. It is caused by several species from the genus Fusarium. Several endophytic fungi also colonize wheat spikes asymptomatically. Pathogenic and commensal fungi share and compete for the same niche and thereby influence plant performance. Understanding the natural dynamics of the fungal community and how the pre-established species react to pathogen attack can provide useful information on the disease biology and the potential use of some of these endophytic organisms in disease control strategies. Fungal community composition was assessed during anthesis as well as during FHB attack in wheat spikes during 2016 and 2017 in two locations. Community metabarcoding revealed that endophyte communities are dominated by basidiomycete yeasts before anthesis and shift towards a more opportunistic ascomycete-rich community during kernel development. These dynamics are interrupted when Fusarium spp. colonize wheat spikes. The Fusarium pathogens appear to exclude other fungi from floral tissues as they are associated with a reduction in community diversity, especially in the kernel which they colonize rapidly. Similarly, the presence of several endophytes was negatively correlated with Fusarium spp. and linked with spikes that stayed healthy despite exposure to the pathogen. These endophytes belonged to the genera Cladosporium, Itersonillia and Holtermanniella. These findings support the hypothesis that some naturally occurring endophytes could outcompete or prevent FHB and represent a source of potential biological control agents in wheat.

SUBMITTER: Rojas EC 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7033075 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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