In vitro production of biotrophic-like cultures of Crinipellis perniciosa, the causal agent of witches broom disease of Theobroma cacao

Witches’ broom disease (WBD) of cacao, caused by the hemibiotrophic fungus, Crinipellis perniciosa, exhibits a succession of symptoms that are caused by the biotrophic phase of the fungus. However, the study of this biotrophic phase is limited by its exclusive growth inside the plant or in the presence of callus. Here we report for the first time a method for the growth and maintenance of the biotrophic-like phase of C. perniciosa on a defined medium with metabolites found in the diseased tissues. Our results suggest that glycerol is a key carbon source for this interaction. This is a crucial achievement toward understanding the biology of this fungus during the infectious phase of WBD.


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