Toxins have been proposed to facilitate fungal root infection by creating regions of readily-penetrated necrotic tissue when applied externally to intact roots. Isolates of the charcoal rot disease fungus, Macrophomina phaseolina, from soybean plants in Mississippi produced a phytotoxic toxin, (−)-botryodiplodin, but no detectable phaseolinone, a toxin previously proposed to play a role in the root infection mechanism. This study was undertaken to determine if (−)-botryodiplodin induces toxic responses of the types that could facilitate root infection. (±)-Botryodiplodin prepared by chemical synthesis caused phytotoxic effects identical to those observed with (−)-botryodiplodin preparations from M. phaseolina culture filtrates, consistent with fungus-induced phytotoxicity being due to (−)-botryodiplodin, not phaseolinone or other unknown impurities. Soybean leaf disc cultures of Saline cultivar were more susceptible to (±)-botryodiplodin phytotoxicity than were cultures of two charcoal rot-resistant genotypes, DS97-84-1 and DT97-4290. (±)-Botryodiplodin caused similar phytotoxicity in actively growing duckweed (Lemna pausicostata) plantlet cultures, but at much lower concentrations. In soybean seedlings growing in hydroponic culture, (±)-botryodiplodin added to culture medium inhibited lateral and tap root growth, and caused loss of root caps and normal root tip cellular structure. Thus, botryodiplodin applied externally to undisturbed soybean roots induced phytotoxic responses of types expected to facilitate fungal root infection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported in part by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board and the Mississippi State University Special Research Initiatives grants program.
© 2020 by the authors
- Hydroponic culture
- Macrophomina phaseolina
- Root infection mechanism
- Root toxicity