Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
Cylindrocladium buxicola is a relatively recent and aggressive fungal disease in Buxus that represents an important threat to the production and use of this plant. The goal of this project is to increase our knowledge of the causal agent and available disease resistance in Buxus. Specifically, we aim to determine 1) disease development under different environmental conditions; 2) pathways and distance of pathogen spread; 3) the presence of genotypic and phenotypic diversity; and 4) the presence and mechanisms of host resistance. Increasing our knowledge of this pathogen and its host should lead to more sustainable disease management.

Research approach
We conduct this research together with the PCS (a Belgian research centre for ornamentals). We establish a collection of Belgian and international isolates of C. buxicola and determine if there are differences in growth, sporulation, virulence (races present?), aggressiveness and fungicide sensitivity. Using molecular markers we determine the genotypic diversity. We test the effect of climate on disease development and sporulation. We develop real-time PCR detection technology and apply it to the study of the dispersal of C. buxicola within and between boxwood nurseries. We collect and screen Buxus cultivars and species in regard to their sensitivity to C. buxicola and determine at what level resistance is active. Finally, we determine the inheritance pattern of potential resistance characteristics.

Boxwood is one of the most widely used plants in modern landscaping. The boxwood industry represents an important section of the Flemish ornamentals industry (2539 ha) and includes a number of leading companies who rely on exports. Boxwood growers view the economical and reputational damage caused by C. buxicola as a serious issue. Not only growers but also public green services, landscapers, and many gardeners are being confronted with the problem and can benefit from the project’s results. ILVO communicates these scientific results to these stakeholders via publications and presentations. The nursery and landscaping industries need to keep their green image. This project is one way to tell consumers about the efforts being made toward integrated management of new pests and diseases.

External partner(s)
PCS - Proefcentrum voor de Sierteelt
Effective start/end date1/09/0931/08/13

ID: 4159253