Culture‐dependent and immune‐based approaches to understand Neonectria ditissima asymptomatic infection

  • Leone Olivieri (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The causative agent of European apple canker, Neonectria ditissima, is able to produce a latent infection which can result in devastating damage in newly planted orchards. Over the past decades, records in the UK have shown that young trees, symptomless when leaving the nursery, can develop canker lesions on the main stem up to 3 years after transplanting. Affected plants need to be grubbed out to prevent disease spread, with annual losses up to 10% of trees. These cankers on young trees are most likely to originate from infections at the
nurseries. Development of an accurate east‐to‐use diagnostic test to detect such latent infections is a high priority for growers and nurseries, but potential use of such tools is hindered by substantial gaps in our knowledge of the basic biology of the pathogen. Based on the current understanding of the disease, N. ditissima is speculated to infect the plant via the wounds generated during the propagation stage, and to remain latent in plant tissues (potentially as a component of the endophytic microflora) before switching to a pathogenic
phase. Currently, we aim to understand the anatomy of infection prior to visual symptoms and to test the hypothesis of the pathogen’s endophytic status. We have established a protocol for inoculation and re‐isolation of N. ditissima from woody tissues, and we are currently validating a serological assay for locating the pathogen in plant material. By tracking the spread of the fungus in artificially inoculated apple trees, we seek to determine the temporal and spatial dynamics of fungal colonization of plant tissues, from the establishment of the infection to disease expression.
Period1 Nov 2017
Event titleThird International Workshop on Apple Canker and Replant Disease
Event typeWorkshop
LocationEast Malling, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational