This work encompasses studies on the development of biocontrol strategies to manage the disease lettuce drop, caused by the fungi Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and S. minor, using the mycoparasitic fungus Coniothyrium minitans, and to better understand interactions during mycoparasitism at the biochemical level. Results from field experiments revealed that two applications of C. minitans at manufacturer recommended rates significantly reduced the incidence of lettuce drop caused by S. sclerotiorum but not by S. minor. Applications of other biocontrol products tested did not significantly reduce disease incidence caused by either pathogen. Sclerotium population studies revealed that soil populations of S. sclerotiorum in lettuce production fields ranged from 0.08 to 2.9 sclerotia/100g of soil and were generally aggregated in their distribution. Continued field studies revealed that there was no significant effect of irrigation (sprinkler vs furrow) on either the impact of sclerotium density or the efficacy of C. minitans . Studies on the evaluation of different application rates of Contans against S. minor revealed that two applications of Contans at 5 X manufactures recommended rates significantly reduced the disease incidence. Examination of sclerotial exudates of Sclerotinia spp. revealed that crude exudates from both Sclerotinia spp. stimulated C. minitans spore germination and the stimulation was due to compounds within the polar fraction. Studies on the role of lectin-carbohydrate binding during fungal-mycoparasite interactions revealed that many plant lectins as well as crude proteins extracted from sclerotia of either Sclerotinia spp. induced agglutination of C. minitans spores in vitro . Spore germination of C. minitans stimulated by sclerotial exudates of either Sclerotinia spp. was significantly inhibited in the presence of the lectin Con A but not other plant lectins. In vitro studies on the directional growth of C. minitans preceding mycoparasitism revealed the involvement of G proteins for optimal response of C. minitans toward Sclerotinia stimulus.
|Advisor:||Pryor, Barry M.|
|Commitee:||Cotty, Peter J., Pierson, Elizabeth A., Schumaker, Karen S.|
|School:||The University of Arizona|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Biocontrol, Coniothyrium, Lettuce drop, Sclerotinia|
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