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Volatile organic compounds: a potential direct long-distance mechanism for antagonistic action of Fusarium oxysporum strain MSA 35

Minerdi, Daniela, Bossi, Simone, Gullino, Maria Lodovica, Garibaldi, Angelo
Environmental microbiology 2009 v.11 no.4 pp. 844-854
Achromobacter, Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium wilt, Serratia, Stenotrophomonas, atmosphere, bacteria, fungi, gene expression, genes, headspace analysis, hydrophobicity, hyphae, mechanism of action, mycelium, pathogens, phenotype, sesquiterpenoids, suppressive soils, symbionts, virulence, volatile organic compounds, wilting
Fusarium oxysporum MSA 35 [wild-type (WT) strain] is an antagonistic Fusarium that lives in association with a consortium of bacteria belonging to the genera Serratia, Achromobacter, Bacillus and Stenotrophomonas in an Italian soil suppressive to Fusarium wilt. Typing experiments and virulence tests provided evidence that the F. oxysporum isolate when cured of the bacterial symbionts [the cured (CU) form], is pathogenic, causing wilt symptoms identical to those caused by F. oxysporum f. sp. lactucae. Here, we demonstrate that small volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the WT strain negatively influence the mycelial growth of different formae speciales of F. oxysporum. Furthermore, these VOCs repress gene expression of two putative virulence genes in F. oxysporum lactucae strain Fuslat10, a fungus against which the WT strain MSA 35 has antagonistic activity. The VOC profile of the WT and CU fungus shows different compositions. Sesquiterpenes, mainly caryophyllene, were present in the headspace only of WT MSA 35. No sesquiterpenes were found in the volatiles of ectosymbiotic Serratia sp. strain DM1 and Achromobacter sp. strain MM1. Bacterial volatiles had no effects on the growth of the different ff. spp. of F. oxysporum examined. Hyphae grown with VOC from WT F. oxysporum f. sp. lactucae strain MSA 35 were hydrophobic whereas those grown without VOCs were not, suggesting a correlation between the presence of volatiles in the atmosphere and the phenotype of the mycelium. This is the first report of VOC production by antagonistic F. oxysporum MSA 35 and their effects on pathogenic F. oxysporum. The results obtained in this work led us to propose a new potential direct long-distance mechanism for antagonism by F. oxysporum MSA 35 mediated by VOCs. Antagonism could be the consequence of both reduction of pathogen mycelial growth and inhibition of pathogen virulence gene expression.