• Quantification of In Planta Zymoseptoria tritici Progression Through Different Infection Phases and Related Association with Components of Aggressiveness

      Rahman, Atikur; Doohan, Fiona; Mullins, Ewen; European Union; 674964 (Scientific Societies, 2020-06)
      In planta growth of Zymoseptoria tritici, causal agent of Septoria tritici blotch of wheat, during the infection process has remained an understudied topic due to the long symptomless latent period before the emergence of fruiting bodies. In this study, we attempted to understand the relationship between in planta growth of Z. tritici relative to the primary components of aggressiveness, i.e., latent period and pycnidia coverage in regard to contrasting host resistance. We tested isolates collected from Ireland against the susceptible cultivar Gallant and cultivar Stigg, which has strong partial resistance. A clear isolate−host interaction effect (F = 3.018; P = 0.005, and F = 6.008; P < 0.001) for latent period and pycnidia coverage, respectively, was identified. Furthermore, during the early infection phase of latency from 5 to 11 days postinoculation (dpi), in planta growth rate of fungal biomass was significantly (F = 30.06; P < 0.001) more affected by host resistance than isolate specificity (F = 1.27; P = 0.27), indicating the importance of host resistance in the early infection phase. In planta Z. tritici growth rates in cultivar Gallant spiked between 11 and 16 dpi followed by a continuous fall onward, whereas in cultivar Stigg it was slowly progressive in nature. From correlation and regression analysis, we found that the in planta growth rate preceding the average latent period of cultivar Gallant has more influence on latency duration and pycnidia production. Likewise, correlation between component of aggressiveness and in planta growth rate of pathogen supports our understanding of aggressiveness to be driven by the pathogen’s multiplication capacity within host tissue.
    • Temporal and spatial field evaluations highlight the importance of the presymptomatic phase in supporting strong partial resistance in Triticum aestivum against Zymoseptoria tritici

      Hehir, J. G.; Connolly, C.; O'Driscoll, A.; Lynch, J. P.; Spink, John; Brown, J. K. M.; Doohan, F.; Mullins, Ewen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 11S121; et al. (Wiley, 2017-11-24)
      Zymoseptoria tritici, the causal agent of septoria tritici blotch (STB), remains a significant threat to European wheat production with the continuous emergence of fungicide resistance in Z. tritici strains eroding the economic sustainability of wheat production systems. The life cycle of Z. tritici is characterized by a presymptomatic phase (latent period, LP) after which the pathogen switches to an aggressive necrotrophic stage, when lesions bearing pycnidia quickly manifest on the leaf. As minimal knowledge of the possible role of the LP in supporting STB resistance/susceptibility exists, the goal of this study was to investigate the spatial and temporal association between the LP and disease progression across three locations (Ireland – Waterford, Carlow; UK – Norwich) that represent commercially high, medium and low STB pressure environments. Completed over two seasons (2013–2015) with commercially grown cultivars, the potential of the LP in stalling STB epidemics was significant as identified with cv. Stigg, whose high level of partial resistance was characterized by a lengthened LP (c. 36 days) under the high disease pressure environment of Waterford. However, once the LP concluded it was followed by a rate of disease progression in cv. Stigg that was comparable to that observed in the more susceptible commercial varieties. Complementary analysis, via logistic modelling of intensive disease assessments made at Carlow and Waterford in 2015, further highlighted the value of a lengthened LP in supporting strong partial resistance against STB disease of wheat.