Potential of the endophyte Penicillium commune in the control of olive anthracnose via induction of antifungal volatiles in host plant uri icon


  • Olive anthracnose, caused by several Colletotrichum species, is the most economically harmful fruit disease of the olive crop. This work aimed to evaluate the ability of the endophyte Penicillium commune CIMO 14FM009 to protect the olive tree against Colletotrichum nymphaeae via induction of plant volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Accordingly, olive tree branches were inoculated with the endophyte and one month later with the pathogen. After 0, 3, and 24 h of pathogen inoculation, the volatile composition of leaves and fruits was analyzed by HSSPME- GC/MS, and compared with controls (branches inoculated with buffer, endophyte, or pathogen). The effect of plant-derived volatiles on C. nymphaeae was also evaluated. Penicillium commune induced the release of VOCs on the olive trees, with the capacity to reduce significantly the growth (up to 1.4-fold) and sporulation (up to 1.2-fold) of C. nymphaeae. This effect was most notorious on olives than on leaves, and occurred 3 h after pathogen-challenge, suggesting the need for a stressful stimulus for the production of antifungal VOCs. The observed inhibition was associated to a specific set of VOCs released from olives (mostly belonging to the alcohols and esters chemical classes) and leaves (mostly belonging to the alkenes). Curiously, a set of VOCs belonging to alkene, alkane and ester classes, were emitted exclusively in olive branches inoculated with C. nymphaeae. These findings provide new possibilities for controlling olive anthracnose using P. commune and/or volatiles, which efficacy should be tested in future works.
  • This work is supported by FEDER funds through the COMPETE (Operational Program for Competitiveness Factors) and by National funds through the FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology) in the scope of the project POCI-01–0145-FEDER-031133 “MicOlives - Exploiting plant induced resistance by beneficial fungi as a new sustainable approach to olive crop protection”, Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, in the scope of the project PRIMA/0002/2018 “INTOMED- Innovative tools to combat crop pests in the Mediterranean”, and IFAP via the project “Bio4Med - Implementation of innovative strategies to increase sustainability in perennial Mediterranean crops”, as well as the Mountain Research Center - CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020; UIDP/00690/2020) and SusTEC (LA/P/0007/2020).

publication date

  • December 1, 2023