Roles of Soil and Roots Biotic and Abiotic Conditions in Fungal-Plant Interactions and Plant Performance, 3rd Edition

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental and Ecological Interactions of Fungi".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 August 2024 | Viewed by 3374

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, CSIC, Alameda del Obispo s/n, 14004 Cordoba, Spain
Interests: agronomic management and disease development; biological control; disease presymptomatic detection; disease control; diversity of pathogen populations; field crops; genetic resistance; phytopathology; soil-borne pathogens
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Guest Editor
1. Department of Plant Science, MIGAL-Galilee Research Institute, Kiryat Shmona, Israel
2. Faculty of Sciences, Tel-Hai College, Tel-Hai, Israel
Interests: biological control; chemical control; crop protection; field studies; maize late wilt disease; plant disease; plant host–pathogen interactions; plant microflora
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The natural microorganisms inhabiting the plant rhizosphere (the roots’ surrounding habitat) may include diverse pathogens and various other non-pathogenic species. They live in complex communities in the soil and in the roots, and affect each other and the plants. They are also affected by abiotic sounding and plants’ population structure. Some members of these communities maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the plants, and may confer protective effects against pathogens. These valuable species can also assist plants, providing better immunity against environmental stresses. Other species are pathogens inhabiting the same ecological niche and either cooperate or compete for the same plant resources. This Special Issue welcomes papers focusing on recent scientific progress and innovation in the intriguing relationships between soil and root microorganisms and their implications for plants’ immunity to biotic and abiotic stresses. Our ability to understand and intervene in this fabric of relationships is essential to increase plant health and crop yields.

Dr. Leire Molinero-Ruiz
Dr. Ofir Degani
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • abiotic stresses
  • biological control
  • crop protection
  • endophytes
  • plant health
  • soil microbiome
  • soil microflora
  • microbial interactions
  • microorganism communities
  • rhizosphere

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 9334 KiB  
Article
Histone Methyltransferase SsDim5 Regulates Fungal Virulence through H3K9 Trimethylation in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
by Lei Qin, Xin Gong, Jieying Nong, Xianyu Tang, Kan Cui, Yan Zhao and Shitou Xia
J. Fungi 2024, 10(4), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10040271 - 6 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Histone post-translational modification is one of the main mechanisms of epigenetic regulation, which plays a crucial role in the control of gene expression and various biological processes. However, whether or not it affects fungal virulence in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is not clear. In this [...] Read more.
Histone post-translational modification is one of the main mechanisms of epigenetic regulation, which plays a crucial role in the control of gene expression and various biological processes. However, whether or not it affects fungal virulence in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is not clear. In this study, we identified and cloned the histone methyltransferase Defective in methylation 5 (Dim5) in S. sclerotiorum, which encodes a protein containing a typical SET domain. SsDim5 was found to be dynamically expressed during infection. Knockout experiment demonstrated that deletion of SsDim5 reduced the virulence in Ssdim5-1/Ssdim5-2 mutant strains, accompanied by a significant decrease in H3K9 trimethylation levels. Transcriptomic analysis further revealed the downregulation of genes associated with mycotoxins biosynthesis in SsDim5 deletion mutants. Additionally, the absence of SsDim5 affected the fungus’s response to oxidative and osmotic, as well as cellular integrity. Together, our results indicate that the H3K9 methyltransferase SsDim5 is essential for H3K9 trimethylation, regulating fungal virulence throug mycotoxins biosynthesis, and the response to environmental stresses in S. sclerotiorum. Full article
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24 pages, 4586 KiB  
Article
Integrated Management of the Cotton Charcoal Rot Disease Using Biological Agents and Chemical Pesticides
by Ofir Degani, Assaf Chen, Elhanan Dimant, Asaf Gordani, Tamir Malul and Onn Rabinovitz
J. Fungi 2024, 10(4), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10040250 - 26 Mar 2024
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Abstract
Charcoal rot disease (CRD), caused by the phytopathogenic fungus Macrophomina phaseolina, is a significant threat to cotton production in Israel and worldwide. The pathogen secretes toxins and degrading enzymes that disrupt the water and nutrient uptake, leading to death at the late [...] Read more.
Charcoal rot disease (CRD), caused by the phytopathogenic fungus Macrophomina phaseolina, is a significant threat to cotton production in Israel and worldwide. The pathogen secretes toxins and degrading enzymes that disrupt the water and nutrient uptake, leading to death at the late stages of growth. While many control strategies were tested over the years to reduce CRD impact, reaching that goal remains a significant challenge. The current study aimed to establish, improve, and deepen our understanding of a new approach combining biological agents and chemical pesticides. Such intervention relies on reducing fungicides while providing stability and a head start to eco-friendly bio-protective Trichoderma species. The research design included sprouts in a growth room and commercial field plants receiving the same treatments. Under a controlled environment, comparing the bio-based coating treatments with their corresponding chemical coating partners resulted in similar outcomes in most measures. At 52 days, these practices gained up to 38% and 45% higher root and shoot weight and up to 78% decreased pathogen root infection (tracked by Real-Time PCR), compared to non-infected control plants. Yet, in the shoot weight assessment (day 29 post-sowing), the treatment with only biological seed coating outperformed (p < 0.05) all other biological-based treatments and all Azoxystrobin-based irrigation treatments. In contrast, adverse effects are observed in the chemical seed coating group, particularly in above ground plant parts, which are attributable to the addition of Azoxystrobin irrigation. In the field, the biological treatments had the same impact as the chemical intervention, increasing the cotton plants’ yield (up to 17%), improving the health (up to 27%) and reducing M. phaseolina DNA in the roots (up to 37%). When considering all treatments within each approach, a significant benefit to plant health was observed with the bio-chemo integrated management compared to using only chemical interventions. Specific integrated treatments have shown potential in reducing CRD symptoms, such as applying bio-coating and sprinkling Azoxystrobin during sowing. Aerial remote sensing based on high-resolution visible-channel (RGB), green–red vegetation index (GRVI), and thermal imaging supported the above findings and proved its value for studying CRD control management. This research validates the combined biological and chemical intervention potential to shield cotton crops from CRD. Full article
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19 pages, 4650 KiB  
Article
The Diverse Mycorrizal Morphology of Rhododendron dauricum, the Fungal Communities Structure and Dynamics from the Mycorrhizosphere
by Jin Liu, Yang Xu, Yan-Ji Si, Bin-Qi Li, Peng Chen, Ling-Ling Wu, Pu Guo and Rui-Qing Ji
J. Fungi 2024, 10(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10010065 - 14 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1378
Abstract
It is generally believed that mycorrhiza is a microecosystem composed of mycorrhizal fungi, host plants and other microscopic organisms. The mycorrhiza of Rhododendron dauricum is more complex and the diverse morphology of our investigated results displays both typical ericoid mycorrhizal characteristics and ectomycorrhizal [...] Read more.
It is generally believed that mycorrhiza is a microecosystem composed of mycorrhizal fungi, host plants and other microscopic organisms. The mycorrhiza of Rhododendron dauricum is more complex and the diverse morphology of our investigated results displays both typical ericoid mycorrhizal characteristics and ectomycorrhizal traits. The characteristics of ectendoomycorrhiza, where mycelial invade from the outside into the root cells, have also been observed. In order to further clarify the mycorrhizal fungi members and other fungal communities of R. dauricum mycorrhiza, and explore the effects of vegetation and soil biological factors on their community structure, we selected two woodlands in the northeast of China as samples—one is a mixed forest of R. dauricum and Quercus mongolica, and the other a mixed forest of R. dauricum, Q. mongolica, and Pinus densiflor. The sampling time was during the local growing season, from June to September. High-throughput sequencing yielded a total of 3020 fungal amplicon sequence variants (ASVs), which were based on sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer ribosomal RNA (ITS rRNA) via the Illumina NovaSeq platform. In the different habitats of R. dauricum, there are differences in the diversity of fungi obtained from mycorrhizal niches, and specifically the mycorrhizal fungal community structure in the complex vegetation of mixed forests, where R. dauricum is found, exhibits greater stability, with relatively minor changes over time. Soil fungi are identified as the primary source of fungi within the mycorrhizal niche, and the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi from mycorrhizal niches in R. dauricum is significantly influenced by soil pH, organic matter, and available nitrogen. The relationship between soil fungi and mycorrhizal fungi from mycorrhizal niches is simultaneously found to be intricate, while the genus Hydnellum emerges as a central genus among mycorrhizal fungi from mycorrhizal niches. However, there is currently a substantial gap in the foundational research of this genus, including the fact that mycorrhizal fungi from mycorrhizal niches have, compared to fungi present in the soil, proven to be more sensitive to changes in soil moisture. Full article
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