Comparative analysis of infection process in Pima cotton differing in resistance to Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum race 4.
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum race 4 (FOV4) causes an early season cotton disease including seedling deaths. This study compared two Pima cottons (Gossypium barbadense) in the infection process of FOV4 using a confocal and a scanning electron microscope. Seedlings were grown in a hydroponic system and inoculated with a virulent local FOV4 isolate. As compared with the susceptible Pima S-7, the resistant Pima PHY 841 RF had significantly fewer conidia attached and germinated on the root surface. FOV4 penetration into the root epidermis of PHY 841 RF was delayed until 24 h postinoculation (hpi) as compared with 8 hpi in Pima S-7. In Pima S-7, hyphae progressed to the xylem through the cortex between 5 and 7 days postinoculation. However, hyphae grew much slower in the cortex with no apparent hyphae observed in the xylem of PHY 841 RF. At plant maturity, no FOV4 was detected through fungal isolation and PCR in the stem of PHY 841 RF and its resistance donor parents PHY 800 and Pima S-6, as compared with Pima S-7 and DP 744 with positive results. The results demonstrate that PHY 841 RF is resistant to FOV4, due to delayed infection, reduced fungal growth and reproduction, and prevention of the fungus from invading the xylem.