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An integrated approach to improve plant protection against olive anthracnose caused by the Colletotrichum acutatum species complex.

ABSTRACT: The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is the most important oil-producing crop of the Mediterranean basin. However, although plant protection measures are regularly applied, disease outbreaks represent an obstacle towards the further development of the sector. Therefore, there is an urge for the improvement of plant protection strategies based on information acquired by the implementation of advanced methodologies. Recently, heavy fungal infections of olive fruits have been recorded in major olive-producing areas of Greece causing devastating yield losses. Thus, initially, we have undertaken the task to identify their causal agent(s) and assess their pathogenicity and sensitivity to fungicides. The disease was identified as the olive anthracnose, and although Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Colletotrichum acutatum species complexes are the two major causes, the obtained results confirmed that in Southern Greece the latter is the main causal agent. The obtained isolates were grouped into eight morphotypes based on their phenotypes, which differ in their sensitivities to fungicides and pathogenicity. The triazoles difenoconazole and tebuconazole were more toxic than the strobilurins being tested. Furthermore, a GC/EI/MS metabolomics model was developed for the robust chemotaxonomy of the isolates and the dissection of differences between their endo-metabolomes, which could explain the obtained phenotypes. The corresponding metabolites-biomarkers for the discrimination between morphotypes were discovered, with the most important ones being the amino acids L-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, and L-proline, the disaccharide ?,?-trehalose, and the phytotoxic pathogenesis-related metabolite hydroxyphenylacetate. These metabolites play important roles in fungal metabolism, pathogenesis, and stress responses. The study adds critical information that could be further exploited to combat olive anthracnose through its monitoring and the design of improved, customized plant protection strategies. Also, results suggest the necessity for the comprehensive mapping of the C. acutatum species complex morphotypes in order to avoid issues such as the development of fungicide-resistant genotypes.

SUBMITTER: Kolainis S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7259717 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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