SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

SUMMARY

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary is a necrotrophic fungal pathogen causing disease in a wide range of plants. This review summarizes current knowledge of mechanisms employed by the fungus to parasitize its host with emphasis on biology, physiology and molecular aspects of pathogenicity. In addition, current tools for research and strategies to combat S. sclerotiorum are discussed.

Taxonomy:Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary: kingdom Fungi, phylum Ascomycota, class Discomycetes, order Helotiales, family Sclerotiniaceae, genus Sclerotinia.

Identification: Hyphae are hyaline, septate, branched and multinucleate. Mycelium may appear white to tan in culture and in planta. No asexual conidia are produced. Long-term survival is mediated through the sclerotium; a pigmented, multi-hyphal structure that can remain viable over long periods of time under unfavourable conditions for growth. Sclerotia can germinate to produce mycelia or apothecia depending on environmental conditions. Apothecia produce ascospores, which are the primary means of infection in most host plants.

Host range:S. sclerotiorum is capable of colonizing over 400 plant species found worldwide. The majority of these species are dicotyledonous, although a number of agriculturally significant monocotyledonous plants are also hosts.

Disease symptoms: Leaves usually have water-soaked lesions that expand rapidly and move down the petiole into the stem. Infected stems of some species will first develop dark lesions whereas the initial indication in other hosts is the appearance of water-soaked stem lesions. Lesions usually develop into necrotic tissues that subsequently develop patches of fluffy white mycelium, often with sclerotia, which is the most obvious sign of plants infected with S. sclerotiorum.