Epicoccum nigrum – isolation, characterization and potential for biological control of Botrytis cinerea

Petya K. Christova and Slavtcho B. Slavov
Agricultural Academy, AgroBioInstitute, 1164 Sofia, Bulgaria

Abstract

Christova, P. K. & Slavov, S. B. (2021). Epicoccum nigrum – isolation, characterization and potential for biological control of Botrytis cinerea. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 27 (4), 693–698

Twelve Epicoccum nigrum isolates were obtained from ash and elm tree species located at different forest areas in the country. The species identification was performed by sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of fungal rDNA using primers ITS5 and ITS4. E. nigrum isolates formed typical for the species colonies, colored from yellow to orange and decorated in different shades. The mycelial growth rate in a temperature range between 5 and 30°C for all isolates was determined and the optimum for most of them was calculated to be at 20°C. Two isolates, A 7-2 and E 1-1, demonstrated maximum growth at 25°C, whereas the isolate A 1-6 has the lowest temperature optima at 15°C. The ability of selected E. nigrum to inhibit the mycelium growth of phytopathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea was proved by dual culture test. All twelve E. nigrum isolates were capable to inhibit the growth of the pathogen to various degrees. The most perspective E. nigrum isolates (A 3-1, E 1-1 and E 5-1) with possible application for biological control of B. cinerea were selected. The potential of the species as biocontrol agent for a plant protection in the agriculture was discussed.

Keywords: Epicoccum nigrum; gray mold; antagonist; plant protection

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