Endophytic colonization by Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae induces growth promotion effect and increases the resistance of cucumber plants against Aphis gossypii
Roshan S. Shaalan 1, B-D  
,   Elvis Gerges 2, B,   Wassim Habib 2, B,E,   Ludmilla Ibrahim 3, A,C,E-F
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Department of Plant Protection, University of Forestry, Bulgaria
Department of Plant Protection, Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, Lebanon
Department of Plant Protection, Lebanese University, Lebanon
A - Research concept and design; B - Collection and/or assembly of data; C - Data analysis and interpretation; D - Writing the article; E - Critical revision of the article; F - Final approval of article
Roshan S. Shaalan   

Department of Plant Protection, University of Forestry, Bulevard “Sveti Kliment Ohridski”, 1700, Sofia, Bulgaria
Submission date: 2021-02-02
Acceptance date: 2021-05-27
Online publication date: 2021-06-21
The entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) are characterized as fungi with various functions and numerous mechanisms of action. The ability to establish themselves as beneficial endophytes provides a sound ground for their exploitation in crop production and protection. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the entomopathogenic strains of Beauveria bassiana and Mertarhizium anisopliae for their potential to colonize cucumber plants under natural environmental conditions in non-sterile substrate. Seed submersion in conidial suspension resulted in systemic colonization of cucumber plants 28 days post-inoculation. Scanning electron microscope micrographs demonstrated that conidia of both fungal genera have adhered, germinated and directly penetrated seed epidermal cells 24 hr post-submersion. Treated with EPF cucumber seeds resulted seedlings tissues of which contained a significantly higher amount of total phenolic compounds and unchanged amounts of chlorophylls. There was a significant negative effect of endophytic colonization on the Aphis gossypii population size after 5 days of exposure as well as a positive effect on cucumber growth and development 7 weeks post-inoculation. We suggest that reduction of Aphis gossypii population on mature Cucumis sativus plants is caused via an endophyte-triggered improvement of plant’s physiological parameters such as enhanced plant growth with subsequent increase in plant resistance through augmented production of phenolic compounds.
The authors have declared that no conflict of interests exist.