Colonization of plant roots by egg-parasitic and nematode-trapping fungi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


• The ability of the nematode-trapping fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora and the nematode egg parasite Verticillium chlamydosporium to colonize barley (Hordeum vulgare) and tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) roots was examined, together with capability of the fungi to induce cell wall modifications in root cells.

• Chemotropism was studied using an agar plate technique. Root colonization was investigated with light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, while compounds involved in fungus–plant interactions were studied histochemically.

• Only A. oligospora responded chemotropically to roots. Colonization of barley and tomato by both fungi involved appressoria to facilitate epidermis penetration. V. chlamydosporium colonized tomato root epidermis and produced chlamydospores. Papillae, appositions and lignitubers ensheathing hyphae on tomato were also found. Phenolics (including lignin), protein deposits and callose were present in papillae in both hosts. Both fungi were still present in epidermal cells 3 months after inoculation.

• Nematophagous fungi colonized endophytically monocotyledon and dicotyledon plant roots. Arthrobotrys oligospora seemed to be more aggressive than V. chlamydosporium on barley roots. Both fungi induced cell wall modifications, but these did not prevent growth. The response of root cells to colonization by nematophagous fungi may have profound implications in the performance of these organisms as biocontrol agents of plant parasitic nematodes.


  • JJ Bordallo
  • LV Lopez-Llorca
  • Hans-Börje Jansson
  • J Salinas
  • Lotta Persmark
  • L Asensio
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-499
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch