Characterization of host–fungus interactions among wood decay fungi associated with trees in Singapore
Tree pruning creates wounds that are amenable for wood decay fungi colonization.
To characterize the dynamic host–fungus interactions at this location in Senegal mahogany (Khaya senegalensis), in vitro and in vivo pathogenicity tests were conducted with wood decay fungi associated with this tropical tree species.
Fomitiporella caryophylii, Hymenochaete murina and Phellinus noxius isolates were included in this experiment following their frequent isolation from Senegal mahogany pruning wounds.
Although all evaluated fungal isolates successfully breached naturally induced reaction zones, P. noxius alone caused significant mass loss to incubated wood blocks.
In addition, P. noxius caused extensive wood decay after inoculation in living hosts, successfully illustrating Koch's postulates for this host–fungus relationship.
The wood decay ability, invasiveness and facultative parasitism demonstrated by P. noxius suggest its dominant role in wood decay columns below pruning wounds on living Senegal mahoganies.
Treatment of pruning wounds with Trichoderma spore suspensions to prevent infection by Phellinus noxius
Currently, we are collaborating with CUGE and researchers from AVA, NIE, and the EMPA that is screening a beneficial fungus (Trichoderma spp.) for the biological control of wood decay infections in landscape trees.
The treatment will be applied as a liquid solution to branch and stem wounds, and the fungus will develop a preventative barrier against infection until the wound mends.
The team has already identified several local strains of Trichoderma spp. with an 80% lethal effect against one wound pathogen, and these strains will be prepared for field testing on living trees within the next year.
In the future, the technique will also be used to control fungal root pathogens of landscape trees in Singapore.
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