Grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) are a major threat to the wine and grape industry. The aim of the study was to investigate the antifungal activity against Neofusicoccum parvum, Diplodia seriata, and Botryosphaeria dothidea of ε-polylysine, chitosan oligomers, their conjugates, Streptomyces rochei and S. lavendofoliae culture filtrates, and their binary mixtures with chitosan oligomers. In vitro mycelial growth inhibition tests suggest that the efficacy of these treatments, in particular those based on ε-polylysine and ε-polylysine:chitosan oligomers 1:1 w/w conjugate, against the three Botryosphaeriaceae species would be comparable to or higher than that of conventional synthetic fungicides. In the case of ε-polylysine, EC90 values as low as 227, 26.9, and 22.5 µg·mL−1 were obtained for N. parvum, D. seriata, and B. dothidea, respectively. Although the efficacy of the conjugate was slightly lower, with EC90 values of 507.5, 580.2, and 497.4 µg·mL−1, respectively, it may represent a more cost-effective option to the utilization of pure ε-polylysine. The proposed treatments may offer a viable and sustainable alternative for controlling GTDs.
In a context in which the incidence and severity of grapevine fungal diseases is increasing as a result of both climate change and modern management culture practices, reducing the excessive use of phytosanitary products in viticulture represents a major challenge. Specifically, grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs), caused by several complexes of wood decay or xylem-inhabiting fungi, pose a major challenge to vineyard sustainability. In this study, the efficacy of chitosan oligomers (COS)–amino acid conjugate complexes against three fungal species belonging to the Botryosphaeriaceae family (Neofusicoccum parvum, Diplodia seriata, and Botryosphaeria dothidea) was investigated both in vitro and in planta. In vitro tests led to EC50 and EC90 effective concentrations in the 254.6−448.5 and 672.1−1498.5 µg·mL−1 range, respectively, depending on the amino acid involved in the conjugate complex (viz. cysteine, glycine, proline or tyrosine) and on the pathogen assayed. A synergistic effect between COS and the amino acids was observed against D. seriata and B. dothidea (synergy factors of up to 2.5 and 2.8, respectively, according to Wadley’s method). The formulations based on COS and on the conjugate complex that showed the best inhibition rates, COS−tyrosine, were further investigated in a greenhouse trial on grafted vines of two varieties (”Tempranillo” on 775P and “Garnacha” on 110R rootstock), artificially inoculated with the mentioned three Botryosphaeriaceae species. The in planta bioassay revealed that the chosen formulations induced a significant decrease in disease severity against N. parvum and B. dothidea. In summary, the reported conjugate complexes may be promising enough to be worthy of additional examination in larger field trials.
In the work presented herein, we analyze the efficacy of three basic substances that comply with European Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, namely chitosan, horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) and nettle (Urtica dioica L.), for the control of grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) in organic farming. The E. arvense and U. dioica aqueous extracts, prepared according to SANCO/12386/2013 and SANTE/11809/2016, have been studied by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), identifying their main active constituents. The three basic substances, either alone or in combination (forming conjugate complexes), have been tested in vitro against eight Botryosphaeriaceae species, and in vivo, in grafted plants artificially inoculated with Neofusicoccum parvum and Diplodia seriata. A clear synergistic behavior between chitosan and the two plant extracts has been observed in the mycelial growth inhibition tests (resulting in EC90 values as low as 208 μg·mL−1 for some of the isolates), and statistically significant differences have been found in terms of vascular necroses lengths between treated and non-treated plants, providing further evidence of aforementioned synergism in the case of D. seriata. The reported data supports the possibility of extending the applications of these three basic substances in Viticulture beyond the treatment of mildew.
The use of nanocarriers (NCs), i.e., nanomaterials capable of encapsulating drugs and releasing them selectively, is an emerging field in agriculture. In this study, the synthesis, characterization, and in vitro and in vivo testing of biodegradable NCs loaded with natural bioactive products was investigated for the control of certain phytopathogens responsible for wood degradation. In particular, NCs based on methacrylated lignin and chitosan oligomers, loaded with extracts from Rubia tinctorum, Silybum marianum, Equisetum arvense, and Urtica dioica, were first assayed in vitro against Neofusicoccum parvum, an aggressive fungus that causes cankers and diebacks in numerous woody hosts around the world. The in vitro antimicrobial activity of the most effective treatment was further explored against another fungal pathogen and two bacteria related to trunk diseases: Diplodia seriata, Xylophilus ampelinus, and Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, respectively. Subsequently, it was evaluated in field conditions, in which it was applied by endotherapy for the control of grapevine trunk diseases. In the in vitro mycelial growth inhibition tests, the NCs loaded with R. tinctorum resulted in EC90 concentrations of 65.8 and 91.0 μg·mL−1 against N. parvum and D. seriata, respectively. Concerning their antibacterial activity, a minimum inhibitory concentration of 37.5 μg·mL−1 was obtained for this treatment against both phytopathogens. Upon application via endotherapy on 20-year-old grapevines with clear esca and Botryosphaeria decay symptoms, no phytotoxicity effects were observed (according to SPAD and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements) and the sugar content of the grape juice was not affected either. Nonetheless, the treatment led to a noticeable decrease in foliar symptoms as well as a higher yield in the treated arms as compared to the control arms (3177 vs. 1932 g/arm), suggestive of high efficacy. Given the advantages in terms of controlled release and antimicrobial product savings, these biodegradable NCs loaded with natural extracts may deserve further research in large-scale field tests.
Lime-induced chlorosis (LIC) is an important abiotic constraint affecting the growth and yield of grapevines growing in calcareous soils in the Mediterranean region, and the sensory properties of the produced wine. In the work presented herein, the impact of LIC on the nutritional status and chlorophyll content was assessed for eleven varieties and a clone (Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Parraleta, Moristel, Aglianico, Macabeo, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling), grafted to the same rootstock (1103 Paulsen). Macro- and micronutrient contents were determined in the fruit set and veraison stages by petiole analyses, while chlorophyll content in young leaves was monitored by SPAD. Significant differences were detected amongst varieties for all nutrients (including Fe), and inverse relationships between Fe and P contents in the petiole and chlorophyll concentration in the young leaves were found. Regarding LIC resistance, the Fe and chlorophyll contents suggest that Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Aglianico varieties would show the best performance, while Sauvignon would be the least tolerant.
The increase in the demand for almonds, the development of novel self-fertile and late-flowering varieties, and the establishment of plantations in new irrigated areas have led to significant progress in the productive techniques of almond tree cultivation. One of the most important has been the increase in planting density, due to the development of dwarfing rootstocks. This paper presents a comparison between two training systems with ‘Soleta’ almond cultivar: a super high density (SHD) system using Rootpac-20 dwarfing rootstock versus an open-center training system using GF-677 rootstock. To this end, several parameters related to chlorophyll content (fluorescence and SPAD) and light interception (from photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) measurements) were monitored throughout two vegetative cycles, and other productive conditions (flowering, fruit set and production) were tracked at specific times of the cycle. The open-center system resulted in higher PAR interception than the SHD system, but also in the presence of poorly illuminated fractions of the canopy. Differences were observed between both systems in terms of average fruit weight and yield per canopy volume. Lower yields were obtained in SHD system than in open-center, which may be significantly increased by adapting the inter-row spacing. However, the degree of efficiency in the use of resources or productive inputs, such as irrigation, was favorable to the new SHD training system, so its potential to become a reference system in modern plantations (using over-the-row harvesters similar to those used for vine and olive trees) seems promising.
Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn, viz. milk thistle, has been the focus of research efforts in the past few years, albeit almost exclusively restricted to the medicinal properties of its fruits (achenes). Given that other milk thistle plant organs and tissues have been scarcely investigated for the presence of bioactive compounds, in this study, we present a phytochemical analysis of the extracts of S. marianum capitula during the flowering phenological stage (stage 67). Gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy results evidenced the presence of high contents of coniferyl alcohol (47.4%), and secondarily of ferulic acid ester, opening a new valorization strategy of this plant based on the former high-added-value component. Moreover, the application of the hydro-methanolic extracts as an antifungal agent has been also explored. Specifically, their activity against three fungal species responsible for the so-called Botryosphaeria dieback of grapevine (Neofusicoccum parvum, Dothiorella viticola and Diplodia seriata) has been assayed both in vitro and in vivo. From the mycelial growth inhibition assays, the best results (EC90 values of 303, 366, and 355 μg·mL−1 for N. parvum, D. viticola, and D. seriata, respectively) were not obtained for the hydroalcoholic extract alone, but after its conjugation with stevioside, which resulted in a strong synergistic behavior. Greenhouse experiments confirmed the efficacy of the conjugated complexes, pointing to the potential of the combination of milk thistle extracts with stevioside as a promising plant protection product in organic Viticulture.
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