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Nitrogen fertilization of the host plant influences susceptibility, production and aggressiveness of Botrytis cinerea secondary inoculum and on the efficacy of biological control

Abstract : Nitrogen (N) fertilization is known to influence the susceptibility of many plants to a variety of diseases. In the case of diseases caused by Botrytis cinerea, the role of N fertilization appears to be variable, with high levels either fostering or reducing severity depending on the studies. To test whether this variability could be due to possible differences in the host plants, inoculum pressure or in the behavior of different strains of the pathogen, studies were carried out to investigate the effect of different N fertilization regimes on the susceptibility of tomato and lettuce to six isolates of B. cinerea. Possible epidemiological effects of N fertilization through the sporulation of the pathogen and on the pathogenicity of resulting secondary inoculum were also investigated on tomato. Plants were grown in a soil-less drip-irrigation system. Differential N nutrition ranging from 0.5 to 30 mM NO3- was applied for the last four weeks prior to inoculation on the leaves (lettuce) or on leaf pruning wounds (tomato) and incubation of the plants in conditions conducive to disease development. On the tomato stems, disease onset was delayed and overall severity was lower for all isolates on plants with higher N inputs, regardless of inoculum concentration. However, the rate of stem lesion expansion was differentially affected depending on the strains, decreasing with increasing N fertilization levels for the more aggressive isolates, while increasing for the less aggressive isolates.In contrast with tomato, high N fertilization increased disease severity on lettuce for all isolates tested. On tomato plant tissue, sporulation of B. cinerea decreased significantly with increasing N fertilization up to 15-30 mM NO3- and the pathogenicity of the spores was significantly influenced by the nutritional status of their production substrate. It was highest for spores produced on plants with very low or very high N fertilization (0.5 or 30 mM NO3-) and lowest for those from plants with moderate levels of N fertilization. Plant fertilization also strongly affected the efficacy of two biocontrol agents (Trichoderma atroviride and Microdochium dimerum) to protect pruning wounds of tomato against B. cinerea. The highest levels of protection were obtained with high N fertilization and related to a delay in symptom development on the stems, sometimes associated with a slowdown in lesion expansion. Histological studies showed that the decrease in disease severity at high N fertilization was associated to structural alteration of Botrytis mycelial cells. In the presence of a biocontrol agent, the effect on the pathogen was further associated to vacuolisation, glycogen deposition and mycelial cell death. Hypotheses to explain these results are discussed in light of the possible physiological effects of nitrogen fertilization on nutrient availability for the pathogen in the host tissue and of possible production of defense metabolites by the plant. These results also open new possibilities for including the manipulation of N fertilization as a tool for the integrated protection of vegetable crops
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 10:24:49 AM
Last modification on : Monday, February 28, 2022 - 5:22:46 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 11:55:42 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02805920, version 2
  • PRODINRA : 184477



Manzoor Ali Abro. Nitrogen fertilization of the host plant influences susceptibility, production and aggressiveness of Botrytis cinerea secondary inoculum and on the efficacy of biological control. Agricultural sciences. Université d'Avignon, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013AVIG0647⟩. ⟨tel-02805920v2⟩



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