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Colonization of geranium foliage by clonostachys rosea f. catenulata, a biological control agent of botrytis grey mould

Chatterton, S., Punja, Z.K. (2012). Colonization of geranium foliage by clonostachys rosea f. catenulata, a biological control agent of botrytis grey mould, 90(1), 1-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/B11-076

Abstract

The ecological requirements for the colonization of geranium leaves by the bio control agent Clonostachys rosea f. catenulata strain J1446 were investigated. Although this bio control agent is a soil-inhabiting fungus, treatment of geranium foliage with the agent can reduce grey mould caused by Botrytis cinerea in the greenhouse. To characterize the extent of foliar colonization, a GUS-transformed isolate of C. rosea f. catenulata was applied to foliage of two geranium cultivars, Pelargonium × hortorum and Pelargonium × domesticum. Population levels of C. rosea f. catenulata were found to be highest on senescent leaves and stems, followed by fully expanded leaves, and lowest on newly emerged leaves of both cultivars. Optimum temperature for leaf and petiole colonization was 20-25 °C for both cultivars. The biocontrol agent required at least 12 h of continuous leaf wetness to achieve maximum population densities on the leaves and stems of both cultivars. On whole plants, colonization was significantly higher on wounded leaves, stems, and senescing leaves compared with that on non wounded leaves, stems, and mature leaves, respectively. GUS staining indicated that the fungus preferentially colonized the wound sites of leaves and the cut portions of stems. Results indicate that this bio control agent can successfully colonize the foliage of geraniums, thus demonstrating the endophytic ability of C. rosea f. catenulata in both root and foliar tissues.

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