Research Article

Endophytic and pathogenic isolates of the cacao fungal pathogen Moniliophthora perniciosa (Tricholomataceae) are indistinguishable based on genetic and physiological analysis

Published: February 22, 2011
Genet. Mol. Res. 10 (1) : 326-334 DOI: 10.4238/vol10-1gmr895

Abstract

We evaluated the genetic and physiological variability of Moniliophthora perniciosa obtained from healthy and diseased branches of cacao (Theobroma cacao) plants. The diversity of the isolates was evaluated by RAPD technique and by studies of virulence and exoenzyme production. The genetic variability of endophytic and pathogenic M. perniciosa was evaluated in association with pathogenicity assays. RAPD analysis showed eight genetic groups, which were not related to plant disease status (healthy versus diseased branches). Isolates from cacao were included in three groups, excluding isolates from other host plants. Pathogenicity and enzyme analysis showed that the virulence of the isolates is not related to exoenzyme production. This is the first evidence that M. perniciosa colonizes healthy parenchymatic tissues, showing that endophytic behavior may occur in this species.

We evaluated the genetic and physiological variability of Moniliophthora perniciosa obtained from healthy and diseased branches of cacao (Theobroma cacao) plants. The diversity of the isolates was evaluated by RAPD technique and by studies of virulence and exoenzyme production. The genetic variability of endophytic and pathogenic M. perniciosa was evaluated in association with pathogenicity assays. RAPD analysis showed eight genetic groups, which were not related to plant disease status (healthy versus diseased branches). Isolates from cacao were included in three groups, excluding isolates from other host plants. Pathogenicity and enzyme analysis showed that the virulence of the isolates is not related to exoenzyme production. This is the first evidence that M. perniciosa colonizes healthy parenchymatic tissues, showing that endophytic behavior may occur in this species.