Competitive interactions between Microdochium nivale var. majus, M. nivale var. nivale and Fusarium culmorum in planta and in vitro


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Abstract

SummaryMicrodochium nivale var. majus and var. nivale are economically important fungal pathogens of cereal seedlings, stem bases and ears, as is the toxigenic species Fusarium culmorum. Competition experiments on seedlings support an earlier report of differential host preference between the varieties of M. nivale on wheat and rye seedlings at 15°C, but showed that it does not extend across a broad range of temperatures. The studies showed that, although interaction is disadvantageous to the less virulent pathogen, it does not confer an advantage to the more virulent pathogen. In mixed inoculum experiments on wheat seedlings at 15°C and 20°C, F. culmorum suppressed the growth of both varieties of M. nivale. However, if M. nivale var. majus became established on the seedlings, it was able to co-suppress colonization of wheat seedlings by F. culmorum. In contrast M. nivale var. nivale did not suppress F. culmorum significantly. The growth of M. nivale var. majus and F. culmorum was also co-suppressed in liquid culture. Significantly, the accumulation of deoxynivalenol mycotoxin was also reduced in the mixed in vitro culture compared with axenic culture of F. culmorum. However, in vitro interaction studies on solidified media were of only limited use in predicting the outcome of competitions in planta.

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