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Preliminary estimation of the efficacy of Fusarium sporotrichioides Sherb. as biological control agent against common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.)
Published June 30, 2018

A study of fungi responsible for severe leaf spots of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) in the Hajdúság region (East Hungary), Fusarium sporotrichioides and Alternaria alternata were isolated from infested leaf tissues. F. sporotrichioides was the most virulent fungus in pathogenicity tests conducted on healthy leaves of common milkweed ...plants. Inoculation of common milkweed (A. syriaca) in different growth stages with F. sporotrichioides yielded similar symptoms as the original ones. Spray mixtures containing 1.0×106 conidia/ml gave effective control when common milkweed plants were sprayed until runoff occurred. Laboratory (wet chamber) and field experiments showed that asexual spores of the fungal pathogen, F. sporotrichioides, exhibited bioherbicidal activity against common milkweed (A. syriaca).

More efficient control efficacy was observable on elder plants (at flowering stage) than younger ones. These results initiate that this fungus may be a biocontrol agent for controlling this invasive weed but should clarify its hosts because it could infect cultivated plants as well.

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Studies of Cryphonectria parasitica (MURR.) BARR subpopulations on Quercus petraea in Ukraine
Published October 30, 2011

Chryphonectria parasitica (Murr.) Barr, the casual agent of chestnut blight disease, which is one of the most important fungal pathogens of chestnut (Castanea sativa). The disease seriously affected the chestnut in Northern-America and in Europe as well. It is important to mention that the pathogen does not only infect the chestnut but oak spec...ies (Quercus spp.) also. In the Carpathian-Basin, the chestnut is endemic in the Mecsek mountains, in Zala, in Somogy counties but it also can be found in the Danube-Bend. In the Carpathian-Basin (outside Hungary) the chestnut is found in Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania. In our study bark samples infected by Cryphonectria parasitica were collected from Bobovyshche, Serednje and Rostovjatica (Ukraine). The rate of infected chestnut tree were higher than 90% around Bobovyshche and beside chestnut, the symptoms were detected on oak trees as well. We collected bark samples from chestnut and oak as well and then we isolated the pathogen Cryphonectria parasitica in the lab of University of Debrecen. Symptomatological observations, laboratory examinations on fungus morphology, as well as comparisons of ITS sequency homology were made and approved that the causal agent of new disease was Cryphonectria parasitica. Our results proved that the Cryphonectria. parasitica infects oak trees beside chestnut in the Carpathian-Basin. Further studies are needed to determine the VCG (Vegatative Compatibility Group) group of the Cryphonectria parasitica found on oak trees. 

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Effect of the media on morphology of Cryphonectria parasitica (Murr.) Barr isolates and their Vegetative Compatibility Groups
Published June 2, 2015

The most dangerous pathogen for the European and American chestnuts is the blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica (Murrill) Barr. Short after its introduction a big number of chestnut trees were destroyed on the infested area. The control could be really complicated, because of the numerous vegetative compatibility groups of the fungus. There i...s a type that carries a mycovirus viz. hypovirus in the cytoplasm. We are able to control effectively this pathogen by using mycovirus-carrying strains (called hypovirulent fungal strains also). In laboratory it is easy to multiply the virulent and the hypovirulent strains of the fungus but do not easy to differentiate colonies visually on simple PDA medium. During our research, we tested different types of media, based on potato and chestnut bark extract respectively. It was observed that on potato medium the virulent strains produce more orange pigments. So it is more easy to differentiate virulent or hypovirulent isolates of chestnut blight fungus based on colony colour and morphology.

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Sour cherry anthracnose and possibilities of the control with special regard to resident Glomerella population in sour cherry plantations of East Hungary
Published November 10, 2010

Anthracnose is considered one of the most destructive diseases for sour cherry production due to the rapid development of the disease on fruits. Glomerella cingulata (Stoneman) Spauld. & H. Schrenk (anam.: Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz. & Sacc. in Penz.) has been the fungal pathogen responsible for anthracnose in last deca...des. Yield losses greater than 90% may occur under epidemic conditions. C. acutatum (J.H. Simmonds, 1968) strains were isolated of sourcherry plantations in East Hungary and this pathogen, new for Hungarian microbiont became recently dominant. Contrarily to the former species it is certainly transmitted with ants during fruit ripening. About third of strains proved to be cutinase producers that enable them to actively penetrate via cuticule, and these strains infect directly berries of blackberry, grape and tomato as well as plum and apple. Most of cutinase negative strains could also infect these fruits after mechanic injury. All strains of both species produce amylase, cellulase, lecithinase, lipase, polyfenoloxydase and protease in vitro, although the activity of these enzymes highly varied in the medium. The only C. acutatum strains produced noticeable amount of chitinase. Strains, tolerant to recently applied fungicides to control the anthracnose, could be isolated of sour cherry plantations that might be the cause of ineffectiveness of control measures in 2010. The mycofungicide containing mixture of three Trichoderma species in oil carrier could efficiently depress the development of anthracnose in ripening sour cherry.

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The specification of the growing temperature on PDA of chestnut blight pathogen (Cryphonectria parasitica (Murr.) Barr) to optimize timing for biocontrol treatments by hypovirulent strains
Published June 14, 2017

The most destructive pathogen for the European chestnut trees is the blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica (Murr.) Barr. The biological control is the only effective possibility to apply in situ biocontrol by hypovirulent strains against compatible virulent (wild) fungus strains. The infested bark tissues can inoculate by drilling holes surrou...nding and putting into agar discs interwoven by the appropriate vegetative compatible group (VCG) hypovirulent fungus strains. This latest can pass those virus-like particles (VLPs) by parasexual contact (called hypha-anastomosis)which responsible to hypovirulence. A laboratory experiment was made to find the optimal times to carry out the treatments. The intensity of growth of fungal colonies were analysed on different temperatures. The growth of the fungus on low temperature were rather slow,according to our expectations. On higher temperature the colony progress were the same as on the optimal 20–25 °C. These observations and the environment determine the date of the field applications under Hungarian weather conditions. It means the optimal treatment periods can be May or end of September to middle October in Hungary.

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Management of phytopathogens by application of green nanobiotechnology: Emerging trends and challenges
Published June 2, 2015

Nanotechnology is highly interdisciplinary and important research area in modern science. The use of nanomaterials offer major advantages due to their unique size, shape and significantly improved physical, chemical, biological and antimicrobial properties. Physicochemical and antimicrobial properties of metal nanoparticles have received much a...ttention of researchers. There are different methods i.e. chemical, physical and biological for synthesis of nanoparticles. Chemical and physical methods have some limitations, and therefore, biological methods are needed to develop environment-friendly synthesis of nanoparticles. Moreover, biological method for the production of nanoparticles is simpler than chemical method as biological agents secrete large amount of enzymes, which reduce metals and can be responsible for the synthesis and capping on nanoparticles.

Biological systems for nanoparticle synthesis include plants, fungi, bacteria, yeasts, and actinomycetes. Many plant species including Opuntia ficus-indica, Azardirachta indica, Lawsonia inermis, Triticum aestivum, Hydrilla verticillata, Citrus medica, Catharanthus roseus, Avena sativa, etc., bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis, Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria, Pseudomonas stutzeri, Lactobacillus sp., Klebsiella aerogenes, Torulopsis sp., and fungi, like Fusarium spp. Aspergillus spp., Verticillium spp., Saccharomyces cerevisae MKY3, Phoma spp. etc. have been exploited for the synthesis of different nanoparticles. Among all biological systems, fungi have been found to be more efficient system for synthesis of metal nanoparticles as they are easy to grow, produce more biomass and secret many enzymes. We proposed the term myconanotechnology (myco = fungi, nanotechnology = the creation and exploitation of materials in the size range of 1–100 nm). Myconanotechnology is the interface between mycology and nanotechnology, and is an exciting new applied interdisciplinary science that may have considerable potential, partly due to the wide range and diversity of fungi.

Nanotechnology is the promising tool to improve agricultural productivity though delivery of genes and drug molecules to target sites at cellular levels, genetic improvement, and nano-array based gene-technologies for gene expressions in plants and also use of nanoparticles-based gene transfer for breeding of varieties resistant to different pathogens and pests. The nanoparticles like copper (Cu), silver (Ag), titanium (Ti) and chitosan have shown their potential as novel antimicrobials for the management of pathogenic microorganisms affecting agricultural crops. Different experiments confirmed that fungal hyphae and conidial germination of pathogenic fungi are significantly inhibited by copper nanoparticles. The nanotechnologies can be used for the disease detection and also for its management. The progress in development of nano-herbicides, nano-fungicides and nano-pesticides will open up new avenues in the field of management of plant pathogens. The use of different nanoparticles in agriculture will increase productivity of crop. It is the necessity of time to use nanotechnology in agriculture with extensive experimental trials. However, there are challenges particularly the toxicity, which is not a big issue as compared to fungicides and pesticides.

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Investigation of host-specificity of phytopathogenic fungi isolated from woody plants
Published May 20, 2020

Host-specificity is an important characteristic of fungal pathogens. Changing climate could create more appropriate environmental conditions for phytopathogens, thus formerly host-specify fungi could be able to colonize new hosts. Noxious plant pathogen fungi, which can infect several plant species are well-known worldwide. These genera may... expand their range of hosts because of the appearance in new geographic areas due to climate change. This new exposure can result in serious problems in agriculture because of the lack of immunity. The susceptibility of apple tree was studied through testing pathogenicity in vitro with species isolated from walnut twigs and nuts, and identified by ITS sequences. Three of four tested species, Botryosphaeria dothidea, Diaporthe eres and Diplodia seriata colonized and necrotized the infected apple branches, while Juglanconis juglandina was not able to infect the twigs. Members of Botryosphaeriaceae were the most virulent, causing the largest lesions in the fastest way. This experiment draws attention to the threat of new host-pathogen connections, which can arise because of the favourable weather conditions and can spread between neighbouring cultures. 

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Azoxystrobin resistance of Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. isolates
Published October 30, 2011

Fungicide resistance is one of the most important problems endangering the effectivity of practical plant protection today. The frequent and subsequent usage of specific fungicides results the emergence of resistant fungal populations. This threatens is especially high in case of Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. being an endemic pathogen with frequen...t infection. Nowadays the main method of protection as against Botrytis cinerea is the application of chemical fungicides chemicals. Therefore, a better knowledge of local populations is necessary for the planning of the protection procedures.
Based on the results of our examinations we may establish that the growth of the examined samples showed a significant difference under in vitro circumstances, which shows a great deal of variability of the Botrytis cinerea populations in Hungary. Twenty-five Botrytis cinerea samples from different hosts were analyzed in this study. High resistance was found towards azoxistrobin in seven cases, and low resistance in eight cases.
It was also proved, that the B. cinerea is able to bypass the inhibition site of the azoxistrobin via the alternative oxidase. The presence of this altermative mitocondrial electrotransport route considerably reduces the effectivity of the chemical. 

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Cytochrome b diversity of Hungarian Botrytis cinerea strains
Published November 10, 2010

In the mitochondrion of eukaryotes, cytochrome b is a component of respiratory chain complex III. Cytochrome b is encoded by the
cytochrome b (CYTB) gene located in the mitochondrial genome. The fungicidal activity of QoIs relies on their ability to inhibit mitochondrial respiration by binding at the so-called Qo site (the outer quinol-oxida...tion site) of the complex III. Since their introduction, QoIs (like azoxystrobin) have become essential components of plant disease control programs because of their wide-ranging efficacy against many agriculturally important fungal diseases like grey mould on various crops. QoI resistance primarily arises from a target-site-based mechanism involving mutations in the mitochondrial CYTB. As the management of grey mould is often dependent on chemicals, the rational design of control programs requires the information about the diversity of genes connected with resistance in field populations of the pathogen.
Monospore B. cinerea field isolates has been collected during 2008-2009 from different hosts in Hungary. PCR fragment length analysis
indicated the high frequency presence of type large intron in the isolates while in a few strains G143A substitution could also be detected.
These results indicated the heterogeneity of CYTB in the Hungarian B. cinerea populations, which possibly involve the heteroplasmy of this
mitochondrial gene, moreover indicates the existence op azoxystrobin resistant populations in Hungary.
This work was supported by NKFP-A2-2006/0017 grant. Erzsébet Fekete is a grantee of the János Bolyai Scholarship (BO/00519/09/8).

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