Maria Herrero

Research Scientist

(+47) 920 65 048
maria.herrero@nibio.no

Place
Ås H7

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 7, 1433 Ås

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Abstract

We investigated virus infection in the oomycete Pythium polare from the Arctic. From 39 isolates investigated, 14 contained virus-like double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Next generation sequencing revealed that the P. polare isolate OPU1176 contained three different virus-like sequences. We determined the full-length genome sequence of one of them. The 5397 nt-length genome had two overlapped open reading frames (ORFs) consistent with a toti and toti-like viruses, that we named Pythium polare RNA virus 1 (PpRV1). The ORF2 encoded an RNAdependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). The shifty heptamer motif and RNA pseudoknot were predicted near the stop codon of ORF1, implying that the RdRp could be translated as a fusion protein with the ORF1 protein. Phylogenetic analysis with deduced RdRp amino acid sequences indicated that oomycete virus PpRV1 was closely related to the unclassified arthropod toti-like viruses. The comparison of PpRV1-free and -infected lines suggested that PpRV1 infected in a symptomless manner.

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Abstract

The parasitic fungus Rhytisma polare is a common parasite on leaves of the polar willow (Salix polaris) in the high-Arctic polar semi-desert of Spitsbergen, Norway. Because Rhytisma spp. generally requires saturation with free water to develop ascospores, it is unclear how R. polare has ecologically adapted to the Arctic desert, where such water is very limited. In this study, the response of R. polare to diferent water conditions on Spitsbergen was investigated during the summer months of June–August in 2012. Field and laboratory experiments demonstrated that free water availability from rainfall or snowmelt is essential to facilitate ascostromal maturation and ascospore dispersal in R. polare. The feld experiments also revealed that the dispersal of ascospores produced on fallen leaves did not extend beyond a few meters. These results suggest that the free water requirement combined with the short spore-dispersal distance constrains the local occurrence of R. polare in the Arctic desert to locations where free water from rainfall and snowmelt is present.

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Abstract

In Arctic tundra, plant pathogens have substantial effects on the growth and survival of hosts, and impacts on the carbon balance at the scale of ecological systems. To understand these effects on carbon dynamics across different scales including plant organ, individual, population and ecosystem, we focused on two primary factors: host productivity reduction and carbon consumption by the pathogen. We measured the effect of the pathogen on photosynthetic and respiratory activity in the host. We also measured respiration and the amount of carbon in the pathogen. We constructed a model based on these two factors, and calculated pathogenic effects on the carbon balance at different organismal and ecological scales. We found that carbon was reduced in infected leaves by 118% compared with healthy leaves; the major factor causing this loss was pathogenic carbon consumption. The carbon balance at the population and ecosystem levels decreased by 35% and 20%, respectively, at an infection rate of 30%. This case study provides the first evidence that a host plant can lose more carbon through pathogenic carbon consumption than through a reduction in productivity. Such a pathogenic effect could greatly change ecosystem carbon cycling without decreasing annual productivity.

Abstract

Pythium species are fungal-like organisms distributed all over the world. Most Pythium spp. live as saprophytes, but some of them are pathogenic. Here we report on disease incidence in Norway spruce (Picea abies) seedlings caused by Pythium undulatum, and pathogenicity in vitro of Norwegian isolates of P. undulatum and P. anandrum.

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Abstract

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Abstract

In an attempt to find alternative products to classical fungicides, several products with low toxicity were tested against powdery mildew of roses. These products included resistance inducers (Bion, BABA, and ROS), potassium salts (Resistim, monopotassium phosphate), and seed extracts. The best results were obtained with acibenzolar-S-methyl (Bion). The utilization of Bion as prophylactic treatment, watered at a concentration 0.1–0.2 mg/ml, together with good cultural practices can be enough to effectively control powdery mildew on roses. Treatments with Resistim reduced the disease incidence, but not always significantly compared to the controls. None of the other products had effect on powdery mildew.

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Abstract

The effect of day length on production and germinability of conidia and severity of disease caused by Podosphaera pannosa, the causal agent of rose powdery mildew, was studied. Whole potted plants or detached leaves of Rosa interspecific hybrid 'Mistral' were inoculated with P. pannosa and exposed to 0, 12, 18, 20, 22, or 24 h of artificial light per day in growth chambers equipped with mercury lamps. Increasing duration of illumination from 18 to 20 to 24 h per day reduced production of conidia by 22 to 62%. Exposure to 24 h of illumination per day also strongly reduced disease severity compared with 18 h. Our results suggest that increasing day lengths from 18 h per day to 20 to 24 h may suppress the disease significantly and, thereby, reduce the need for fungicide applications against powdery mildew.

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Abstract

A collection of four clonal isolates of Podosphaera aphanis was heterothallic and was composed of two mutually exclusive mating types. Cleistothecial initials approximate to 20 to 30 mu m in diameter were observed within 7 to 14 days after pairing of compatible isolates and developed into morphologically mature ascocarps within 4 weeks after initiation on both potted plants maintained in isolation and in field plantings in New York State and southern Norway. Ascospores progressed through a lengthy maturation process over winter, during which (i) the conspicuous epiplasm of the ascus was absorbed; (ii) the osmotic potential of the ascospore cytoplasm increased, resulting in bursting of prematurely freed spores in water; and, finally, (iii) resulting in the development of physiologically mature, germinable, and infectious ascospores. Release of overwintered ascospores from field collections was coincident with renewed plant growth in spring. Overwintered cleistothecia readily dehisced when wetted and released ascospores onto glass slides, detached strawberry leaves, and leaves of potted plants. Plant material exposed to discharged ascospores developed macroscopically visible mildew colonies within 7 to 10 days while noninoculated controls remained mildew free. Scanning electron and light microscopy revealed that cleistothecia of P. aphanis were enmeshed within a dense mat of hyphae on the persistent leaves of field-grown strawberry plants and were highly resistant to removal by rain while these leaves remained alive. In contrast, morphologically mature cleistothecia on leaves of nine deciduous perennial plant species were readily detached by simulated rain and seemed adapted for passive dispersal by rain to other substrates. Contrary to many previous reports, cleistothecia appear to be a functional source of primary inoculum for strawberry powdery mildew. Furthermore, they differ substantially from cleistothecia of powdery mildews of many deciduous perennial plants in their propensity to remain attached to the persistent leaves of their host during the intercrop period.

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Abstract

When rose plants bearing colonies of Podosphaera pannosa were placed in a wind tunnel, the number of conidia trapped was directly proportional to intensity of daylight-balanced (white) light from 5 to 150 mu mol m(-2) s(-1). Illumination of samples using blue (420 to 520 nm) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) increased the number of conidia trapped by a factor of approximately 2.7 over white light but germination of conidia under blue light was reduced by approximately 16.5% compared with conidia germination under white light. The number of conidia trapped under far-red (>685 nm) LEDs was approximately 4.7 times higher than in white light, and 13.3 times higher than under red (575 to 675 nm) LEDs, and germination was not induced compared with white light. When mildewed plants were exposed to cycles of 18 h of white light followed by 6 h of blue, red, far-red light, or darkness, light from the red LEDs reduced the number of conidia trapped by approximately 88% compared with darkness or far-red light. Interrupting the above dark period with 1 h of light from red LEDs also reduced the number of conidia trapped, while a 1-h period of light from far-red following the 1 h of light from red LEDs nullified the suppressive effect of red light. Our results indicate that brief exposure to red light during the dark interval may be as effective as continuous illumination in suppressing powdery mildew in greenhouse rose plant (Rosa x hybrida).

Abstract

Phytophthora ramorum S. Werres, A.W.A.M. de Cook & W.A. Man in‘t Veld is a newly described Phytophthora-species which is considered to be relatively recently introduced to both USA and Europe from an unknown area, or areas, of origin. The pathogen has a wide host range and causes a complexity of disease symptoms generally grouped into three categories: canker, foliage lesion, and dieback. In Europe the pathogen has been reported in 21 countries, Norway included; predominantly on ornamental plants in nurseries, but also outside nurseries in gardens and semi-natural environment, most often on rhododendrons. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority needs a risk assessment of the pest as basis for an evaluation of a future phytosanitary risk management of P. ramorum, including whether the organism should be regulated as a quarantine pest in Norway. On this background the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, in a letter of 22nd August 2008, requested a pest risk assessment of P. ramorum from the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (Vitenskapskomiteen for mattrygghet, VKM). The pest risk assessment was adopted by VKM"s Panel on plant health (Panel 9) on a meeting 24th June 2009. VKM"s Panel 9 gives the following main conclusions of the risk assessment: 1) P. ramorum is present but not widely distributed in Norway, and the pest is under official control. The outdoors surveys of P. ramorum in Norway have not been conducted systematically over the whole country, and some uncertainty therefore still remains regarding the current distribution of P. ramorum in the PRA area. 2) The overall probability of entry of P. ramorum into Norway and the overall probability of establishment of P. ramorum in Norway are both rated as high with low levels of uncertainty; 3) In the absence of statutory control the probability for P. ramorum to be spread quickly in the PRA area by trade of host plants for planting is rated as high. The uncertainty of this assessment is low; 4) The part of the PRA area where presence of P. ramorum might result in economically important losses (the endangered area) is assessed to be most of the country of Norway, except where the climate is predicted to be unfavourable for the pest. However, this area must be regarded as a maximum estimate for the endangered area. On the other hand, a narrow and very conservative estimate for the endangered area can be defined based on the geographical distribution of highly susceptible host plants in Norway. This area is gardens and parks with Rhododendron spp., Viburnum spp. and F. sylvatica and areas in the wild into which Rhododendron spp. has spread and woods with F. sylvatica. Woods with F. sylvatica is limited to the county of Vestfold and some small areas in the counties of Aust-Agder and Hordaland; 5) P. ramorum is likely to have moderate economic impact on the nurseries in the PRA area with current phytosanitary measures. Without any such regulations P. ramorum is likely to have major economic impact on the nursery industry of the PRA area. The levels of uncertainties of these assessments are low; 6) With current phytosanitary measures P. ramorum is likely to have moderate economic impact on parks and private gardens in parts of the PRA area. Without any such regulations P. ramorum is likely to have major economic impact in the best climatic zones of the PRA area. The levels of uncertainties of these assessments are low; 7) The impact of P. ramorum in coniferous and mixed forests of the PRA area is likely to be minor. The level of uncertainty of this assessment is medium. The impact of P. ramorum in natural and planted deciduous broadleaf forests of the PRA area is likely to be minor due to the scattered and limited distribution of the most susceptible species. The level of uncertainty of this assessment is medium; 8) The non-commercial and environmental consequences to natural environments in the PRA area are likely to be moderate. The level of uncertainty ...

Abstract

Norwegian field production of lettuce has increased considerably since the early 1990s. Disease problems rarely required fungicide applications before 1996, when lettuce downy mildew (Bremia lactucae) caused severe losses. From 2002 to 2004, surveys were conducted to identify fungal diseases in Buskerud, Vestfold and Ostfold counties in the south-east and Rogaland County in the south-west, representing the main lettuce production regions of Norway. The distribution and incidence of B. lactucae was highly variable, but this pathogen was the most important due to the destructive nature of uncontrolled epidemics. Septoria lactucae caused severe damage, but was found in only one field. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum was the most widespread pathogen, found in 32% of the fields, but usually affecting less than 10% of the plants. Pythium tracheiphilum was reported from 33% of the fields in south-east Norway, but was not found in the south-west. Disease incidence was usually less than 5%, and a disease incidence of more than 10% was reported in one field only. Other pathogens of potential economic importance in Norwegian lettuce fields are Alternaria spp., Botrytis cinerea and Rhizoctonia solani, although they were sporadically distributed in relatively few fields in this survey.