Myrothecium

The parasitic species of Myrothecium belong to the fungi imperfecti and affect a large number of plants, including Gardenia, tomatoes, kidney beans, violets and other common plants. They are also found on decaying vegetation and in soil. Plants affected by Myrothecium leaf blight disease have irregular shaped lesions with gray or brown centers and brown margins on both surfaces of the leaves. The lesions become large and grow together to give blighted appearance to the leaves. The diseased spots are often surrounded by translucent areas bearing abundant black pinhead sized fruiting bodies, which later drop leaving a hole in the center. In severe cases, the stem may also break.1,2 The species of Myrothecium produce several toxins including trichothecene roridin A and E with neurotoxic and inflammatory action.

Myrothecium fungal growthMyrothecium fungal growth Source: Braz J Microbiol. 2010 Jan-Mar; 41(1) doi: 10.1590/S1517-838220100001000034

Although Myrothecium is a plant pathogen, it has also been used effectively as a pesticide. As a plant pathogen it has been used to kill weeds, but it is now also used to kill parasitic microscopic pests called Nematodes. Myrothecium verurrucaria is an ascomycete that produces nematicidic compounds. Both the fungus and its metabolites have nematocidal activity and, thus, prevent plant damage from nematodes and control nematodes by reducing egg hatching, inhibiting the development and even killing the nematodes).4 Methods of application include direct application to the soil, controlled release of the metabolite in the surrounding soil, application to the plant roots directly before planting in the soil, foliar application and the like.3

References

  1. Future Challenges in Crop Protection Against Fungal Pathogens. Aakash Goyal, Chakravarthula Manoharachary (editors)
  2. Integrated Management of Diseases Caused by Fungi, Phytoplasma and Bacteria. Aurelio Ciancio, K.G. Mukerji (editors)
  3. Nematocidal preparations US 5051255 A
  4. Biological Control of Root-Knot Nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.): Microbes against the Pests. anja LAMOVÅ EK, Gregor UREK, Stanislav TRDAN

 

 

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