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Seed Treatment with Live or Dead Fusarium verticillioides Equivalently Reduces the Severity of Subsequent Stalk Rot

Martins, Vitor F., Vaughan, Martha M., Huffaker, Alisa, Schmelz, Eric A., Christensen, Shawn, Sims, James, Benda, Nicole D., Swerbilow, Jay, Alborn, Hans, Teal, Peter E.
Phytopathologische Zeitschrift 2014 v.162 no.3 pp. 201-204
Gibberella fujikuroi, biomass, corn, fungi, pathogens, phytoalexins, plant growth, seed treatment, terpenoids
Fusarium verticillioides is a widely distributed fungus that can associate with maize as a deleterious pathogen and an advantageous endophyte. Here, we show that seed treatment with live F. verticillioides enhances maize resistance to secondary stalk rot infection and further demonstrate that dead F. verticillioides is sufficient to equivalently reduce F. verticillioides biomass. Seed treatment with live or dead F. verticillioides primes maize plants, and upon subsequent stalk infection, terpenoid phytoalexins accumulate faster than control‐treated plants. Seed treatment did not constitutively activate plant defences nor did it impact plant growth. These results suggest that seed treatment with dead F. verticillioides can be used as a ‘vaccination’ method to decrease the severity of stalk rot and potentially pathogen infection throughout the plant.