Towards a more sustainable agriculture: arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation protects wheat against powdery mildew


Abstract: In France, the Ecophyto 2018 national action plan will set out to reduce the use of pesticides by 50% by 2018, if possible. To achieve this goal, the use of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi could be a potential alternative method allowing the control of crop diseases. The inoculation by AM fungi has been demonstrated to protect plants against soil-borne pathogens, but little is known about their effectiveness against aerial pathogens, such as the biotrophic fungus Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici (Bgt) causing wheat (Triticum aestivum) powdery mildew. In the present study, wheat plants were grown in pots, under controlled conditions. Using various phosphorus concentrations (62, 12.5, 6.2 mg/l), the effectiveness of three AM inocula (Rhizophagus irregularis (Ri), Funneliformis mosseae (Fm)) and Solrize®, a mixture of Ri and Fm) in Orvantis wheat cultivar, sensitive to Bgt, were tested. After 42 days of culture, mycorrhizal (M) and non-mycorrhizal (NM) wheat plants were infected by Bgt. A satisfactory mycorrhizal rate was obtained with the phosphorus concentration 12.5 mg/l (corresponding to the dose used in fields/5). Our work shows, for the first time, (i) a protective effect of AM inoculation against wheat powdery mildew, reaching up to 73% with Fm inocula, and (ii) its ability to induce a systemic resistance in wheat. Thereafter, we investigated mechanisms involved in this protection on wheat plants, irrigated with 12.5 mg/l phosphorus concentration and inoculated with Fm. Control plants, M plants, infected plants by Bgt, and M-infected plants were compared at: (i) cytological level, our results revealed that papillae auto-fluorescence presence was induced, conversely fungal haustorium formation in epidermal cells was reduced within M plants leaves (ii) enzymatic level-by assessing defense enzyme activities (lipoxygenase, peroxidase) known as defense markers were measured 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours after infection (hai). The importance of these activities in the defense pathways induced in wheat by AM fungi will be discussed.

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