Charcoal rot disease, caused by the fungus Macrophomina phaseolina, results in major economic losses in soybean production in southern USA. M. phaseolina has been proposed to use the toxin (-)-botryodiplodin in its root infection mechanism to create a necrotic zone in root tissue through which fungal hyphae can readily enter the plant. The majority (51.4%) of M. phaseolina isolates from plants with charcoal rot disease produced a wide range of (-)-botryodiplodin concentrations in a culture medium (0.14-6.11 μg/mL), 37.8% produced traces below the limit of quantification (0.01 μg/mL), and 10.8% produced no detectable (-)-botryodiplodin. Some culture media with traces or no (-)-botryodiplodin were nevertheless strongly phytotoxic in soybean leaf disc cultures, consistent with the production of another unidentified toxin(s). Widely ranging (-)-botryodiplodin levels (traces to 3.14 μg/g) were also observed in the roots, but not in the aerial parts, of soybean plants naturally infected with charcoal rot disease. This is the first report of (-)-botryodiplodin in plant tissues naturally infected with charcoal rot disease. No phaseolinone was detected in M. phaseolina culture media or naturally infected soybean tissues. These results are consistent with (-)-botryodiplodin playing a role in the pathology of some, but not all, M. phaseolina isolates from soybeans with charcoal rot disease in southern USA.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, grant numbers 34-2016 and 34-2017.
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- Charcoal rot disease
- Root infection mechanism