Fungal development and plant response in detached onion, onion bulb scales and leaves inoculated with Botrytis allii, B. cinerea, B. fabae and B. squamosa



Fungal development and plant responses were examined in detached leaves and mid-bulb scales of Allumcepa. Following inoculation with suspensions of 105 conidia/ml distilled water Botrytis squamosa consistently produced spreading lesions in leaves and bulb scales. B. allii produced spreading lesions at most sites in bulbs but was very inconsistent in its infection of leaves; lesions were often confined to inoculation sites. Limited lesions were usually produced by B. cinerea but R. fabae failed to produce symptoms at most sites. Extensive colonization by B. allii and B. tauamosa required rapid penetration and totally necrotrophic fungal growth. During development of a spreading lesion, plant cell walls became very swollen around intramural hyphae and wall swelling appeared to precede epidermal cell death. Resistance to colonization was due to poor germination, failure to produce distinct infection hyphae (associated with accumulation of deposits of granular reaction material [RM] in underlying live cells) or restriction of infection ryphae amongst small groups of dead cells (limited lesion formation). Only B. fabae germinated poorly, and germ-tubes produced often failed to attempt penetration but grew over the leaf or bulb scale surface. Reducing numbers of conidia increased the frequency of sites associated with RM accumulation; granular deposits being particularly common at sites inoculated with low numbers of B. allii conidia. Electron microscopy revealed that RM granules were osmiophilic aggregates formed between the plasma membrane and epidermal cell wall. In the absence of RM, growth of avirulent species was restricted within the swollen walls of dead epidermal cells. Results ae compared with those from studies on tulip and broad bean leaves.