Inhibition of Phytophthora species by secondary metabolites produced by the dark septate endophyte Phialocephala europaea
Dark septate fungal root endophytes of the Phialocephala fortinii s.l.–Acephala applanata species complex (PAC) are widely distributed throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Previous studies have shown that some PAC members are pathogenic, others suppress oomycete root pathogens and some have no obvious effect on their Norway spruce (Picea abies) host. The activity of 85 PAC isolates against Phytophthora citricola s.l. was investigated by co-culture on plates. We identified a strain of Phialocephala europaea that significantly reduced the growth of P. citricola in vitro. Characterization of its extracellular metabolites resulted in the identification of four major compounds, sclerin, sclerolide, sclerotinin A, and sclerotinin B. These compounds are known for their positive as well as negative effects on plant growth. We found that sclerin and sclerotinin inhibited the growth of P. citricola in vitro at 150 Î¼g ml−1 (∼1 mM). This is the first report of their production by Phialocephala and of activity of these compounds against an oomycete. Therefore, our data suggest that some PAC might reduce disease resulting from P. citricola by the production of antibiotics and plant growth promoting metabolites. âº Phialocephala europaea strains reduced the growth of Phytophthora citricola. âº This root endophyte produced sclerin and sclerotinin that promote plant growth. âº We found that they inhibited P. citricola in vitro at 150 Î¼g mL−1 (∼1 mM). âº Provides a mechanism for the disease suppression observed of some DSE.