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Publication - Professor Gary Foster

    A faster inoculation assay for Armillaria using herbaceous plants

    Citation

    Ford, KL, Henricot, B, Baumgartner, K, Bailey, AM & Foster, GD, 2017, ‘A faster inoculation assay for Armillaria using herbaceous plants’. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, vol 92., pp. 39-47

    Abstract

    Armillaria (honey fungus) is a virulent necrotrophic pathogen that causes
    Armillaria root disease.  Conventional Armillaria inoculation assays use young
    saplings as hosts and consequently are cumbersome, frequently conducted
    outdoors and take many years from establishment to analysis of infection.  We have developed and evaluated a faster
    inoculation assay for Armillaria that
    uses herbaceous plants as hosts, is carried out in controlled conditions and
    reduces experimental durations to three months.  Plant species of known susceptibility to Armillaria and comparisons between
    virulent A. mellea and opportunistic A. gallica were used to validate the
    assay.  Mortality and diagnostic symptoms
    of Armillaria root disease such as
    epiphytic rhizomorphs and mycelial fans were used to assess levels of infection.  We also attempted to reduce assay preparation
    time by substituting woody inocula with agar inocula, but typical symptoms of
    Armillaria root disease were only observed on plants infected with woody
    inocula.  Through our assay, we
    identified five new potential herbaceous hosts of Armillaria: Kniphofia
    hirsuta, Hordeum vulgare, Lobelia cardinalis, Nicotiana tabacum
    and Helenium
    hoopesii
    – further expanding the extensive list of plants with
    susceptibility to Armillaria and suggesting infection of herbaceous
    species may be more widespread than currently acknowledged

    Full details in the University publications repository