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  • 1. Belgacem, Imen
    et al.
    Pangallo, Sonia
    Abdelfattah, Ahmed
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences. Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Italy.
    Romeo, Flora V.
    Cacciola, Santa O.
    Nicosia, Maria G. Li Destri
    Ballistreri, Gabriele
    Schena, Leonardo
    Transcriptomic Analysis of Orange Fruit Treated with Pomegranate Peel Extract (PGE)2019In: PLANTS, E-ISSN 2223-7747, Vol. 8, no 4, article id 101Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A Pomegranate Peel Extract (PGE) has been proposed as a natural antifungal substance with a wide range of activity against plant diseases. Previous studies showed that the extract has a direct antimicrobial activity and can elicit resistance responses in plant host tissues. In the present study, the transcriptomic response of orange fruit toward PGE treatments was evaluated. RNA-seq analyses, conducted on wounded fruits 0, 6, and 24 h after PGE applications, showed a significantly different transcriptome in treated oranges as compared to control samples. The majority (273) of the deferentially expressed genes (DEGs) were highly up-regulated compared to only 8 genes that were down-regulated. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis showed the involvement of 1233 gene ontology (GO) terms and 35 KEGG metabolic pathways. Among these, important defense pathways were induced and antibiotic biosynthesis was the most enriched one. These findings may explain the underlying preventive and curative activity of PGE against plant diseases.

  • 2. Casini, Giulia
    et al.
    Yaseen, Thaer
    Abdelfattah, Ahmed
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences. Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Italy.
    Santoro, Franco
    Varvaro, Leonardo
    Drago, Sandro
    Schena, Leonardo
    Endophytic fungal communities of ancient wheat varieties2019In: Phytopathologia Mediterranea, ISSN 0031-9465, Vol. 58, no 1, p. 151-162Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The fungal community composition and structure of two ancient tetraploid wheat varieties, native to the Sicilian territory of Italy, Perciasacchi (winter wheat) and Tumminia (spring wheat) were investigated using High Throughput Sequencing (HTS). This showed a predominance of Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes including Alternaria, Fusarium, Mycosphaerella, Filobasidium, Cystofilobasidium, Cryptococcus, Leucosporidium, Dioszegia, Puccinia, Sporobolomyces, Aureobasidium, Cladosporium, Holtermanniella and Gibberella. Principal Coordinates Analysis (PCoA) and Linear discriminant analysis Effect Size (LEfSe) showed that Aureobasidium, Leucosporidium and Puccinia differentiated between the two wheat varieties. In addition, the microbial association analysis suggested that some endophytic taxa play important roles within the wheat fungal community. Genera such as Cryptococcus and Cystofilobasidium were shown to have consistent antagonistic activity against Gibberella spp., while, Acremonium and a group of unidentified ascomycetes had mutual exclusion relationships with Puccinia. Since both Gibberella and Puccinia contain several economically important pathogens of wheat, the detected fungal interactions may indicate microbial-mediated resistance in these wheat varieties.

  • 3. Scibetta, Silvia
    et al.
    Agosteo, Giovanni E.
    Abdelfattah, Ahmed
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
    Li Destri Nicosia, Maria G.
    Cacciola, Santa O.
    Schena, Leonardo
    Development and Application of a Quantitative PCR Detection Method to Quantify Venturia oleaginea in Asymptomatic Olive (Olea europaea) Leaves2020In: Phytopathology, ISSN 0031-949X, E-ISSN 1943-7684, Vol. 110, no 3, p. 547-555Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Olive leaf spot (OLS), caused by Venturia oleaginea, is one of the most common and serious diseases of olive trees in the Mediterranean region. Understanding the pathogen life cycle is important for the development of effective control strategies. Current knowledge is incomplete owing to a lack of effective detection methods. It is extremely difficult to culture V. oleaginea in vitro, so primers were designed to amplify and sequence the internal transcribed spacer ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region of the fungus directly from infected olive leaves. Sanger sequencing indicated a unique ITS region present in the European strains screened, confirming the appropriateness of the target region for developing a quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay. Furthermore, high-throughput sequencing of the same region excluded the presence of other Venturia species in the olive phyllosphere. The qPCR assay proved very specific and sensitive, enabling the detection of approximately 26 copies of target DNA. The analysis of symptomless leaves during early stages of the epidemic from the end of winter through spring revealed a similar quantity of pathogen DNA regardless of the leaf growth stage. In contrast, the pathogen titer changed significantly during the season. Data indicated that leaf infections start earlier than expected over the season and very young leaves are as susceptible as adult leaves. These findings have important practical implications and suggest the need for improved scheduling of fungicide treatments. The qPCR assay represents a valuable tool providing quantitative results and enables detection of V. oleaginea in all olive organs, including those in which OLS cannot be studied using previously available methods.

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