Interaction of four antagonistic fungi with Botrytis aclada in dead onion leaves: a comparative microscopic and ultrastructural study.
The colonization of dead onion leaves by B. aclada and the fungal antagonists Aureobasidium pullulans, Chaetomium globosum, Gliocladium catenulatum and Ulocladium atrum and the interactions between B. aclada and each of the 4 antagonists were studied at the microscopic and ultrastructural level. This approach was used in an attempt to understand the colonization pattern of these fungi and the nature of the biocontrol activity of the antagonists that have shown a potential to suppress spore production of Botrytis spp. on necrotic plant tissues. When applied alone, B. aclada and U. atrum were found throughout the leaf tissues in high densities after an incubation period of 6 days at 18°C in a moist chamber. C. globosum and G. catenulatum colonized only the outer portions of the leaf, whereas A. pullulans appeared to be concentrated in the leaf stomata. When pathogen and antagonists were applied together, ultrastructural observations revealed that cells of B. aclada were plasmolyzed in the presence of G. catenulatum, suggesting a reaction to antifungal molecules. Antibiosis also seemed to be involved in the antagonistic interactions between B. aclada and A. pullulans or C. globosum. No evidence of direct parasitism was recorded. U. atrum, however, appeared to completely exclude B. aclada from dead onion tissues when both fungi competed for the substrate. Ultrastructural observations of the in vitro interaction between the 2 fungi did not reveal parasitism or antibiosis by either fungus. Based on previous records of its biocontrol potential and observations of its colonizing properties, it appears that U. atrum can compete for and utilize necrotic tissues rapidly and extensively, thus, excluding competitors without any other antagonistic action.