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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2005 Jan;43(1):1-11. Epub 2005 Jan 28.

Characterisation of the early events in atypical tomato root colonisation by a biocontrol agent, Pythium oligandrum.

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Laboratoire de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie Microbienne, ESMISAB, Université de Bretagne Occidentale-Brest, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France.


The specific oomycete-plant relationship established between a biological agent, Pythium oligandrum, and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants was examined over the first 48 h after inoculation of tomato roots with the antagonist. One of the most significant effects was the quick colonisation of cortical and vascular root areas by P. oligandrum (until 9 h post-inoculation); it was similar to invasions by the major pathogens of Pythium genus, and much faster than those by Pythium-minor pathogens. Despite the multiplication of hyphae in the root areas, fungal colonisation was associated with neither host wall disruption nor host cell alterations. The colonising hyphae looked healthy till the ninth hour after inoculation, then, they progressively became highly vacuolated. Cytological observations showed that, over the first 14 h of experiment, oomycete invasion was accompanied with rare host-induced defence reactions. Biochemical analysis evidenced an accumulation of phenolic compounds starting 3 h after inoculation. The 14th hour corresponded to the beginning of rishitin (phytoalexin) synthesis. Accumulation of biochemical host defence compounds was concomitant with early signs of hyphae alterations. During the next 34 h several host reactions were regularly amplified as evidenced by the plugging of invaded host cells with heterogeneous osmiophilic or high electron-dense (ED) materials. Fungal cell decay was accompanied with the formation of oogonia in the cortex, vascular parenchyma and xylem vessels. All these early events suggest a peculiar relationship established between P. oligandrum and the plant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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