Goal – Develop a detection tool for the early stage of infection, to quickly identify infected nursery stock, and as a study tool for field-testing new pruning-wound protectants.
Activities – Defined the timing and characteristics of the early stage of infection by the Botryosphaeria dieback pathogen Neofusicoccum parvum, based on spread of the infection and anatomic changes in the trunk, and differential gene expression in the leaves.
Use of High Resolution Computed Tomography
HRCT of grapevine at 2weeks after infection
HRCT of uninfected grapevine
Our focus in 2013-2014 was on Neofusicoccum parvum, which attacks grape, almond,
and pistachio. As the canker developed, anatomical responses in the woody stems of
potted grapes were examined by light microscopy and High Resolution Computed
Tomography (HRCT). Comparisons of inoculated – wounded plants (IW) vs. non-
inoculated – wounded plants (NIW) showed the main differences at 2 MPI. IW plants
were characterized by xylem vessels filled with gels, in stems of intact plants examined
For more movies, please click the link below:
Results & Outputs – Identified a set of eight grapevine genes (aka ‘molecular signature’) expressed in leaves during the early stage of infection from 0.5 to 1.5 months post-inoculation (MPI). For e.g., genes VIT_00s1455g00010 (dark bars) and VIT_01s0026g02710 (white bars) are highly expressed in inoculated plants, compared to the non-inoculated control plants.
Significant Outcomes & Impacts – Demonstrated ‘Proof of concept’, that the early stage of infection in the stem is detectable in asymptomatic leaves. This was first in a series of experiments, the next of which will confirm specificity of the molecular signature for possible interactive effects with drought stress and other trunk pathogens.