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ABSTRACT: Three types of multihyphal structures, stromata, sporangiomata and chlamydosori, are described for the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. Their morphology, morphogenesis and position on the host organ were observed by dissecting, compound and scanning electron microscopy. Stromata were consistently formed one to two weeks after zoospore inoculation of detached leaves and fruits of an assortment of Mediterranean sclerophyll shrubs. Stroma initials appeared subcuticularly or subepidermally and developed as small hyphal aggregates by repeated branching, budding, swelling and interweaving, eventually forming a prosenchyma. They always emerged through the adaxial side of the leaf by rupture of the overlying host tissue. Occasionally sporangia and chlamydosori (packed clusters of chlamydospores) were formed on the stromata. Sporangiomata bore short sporangiophores and clusters of 20-100 sporangia and resembled sporodochia of the mitosporic fungi. The biological significance of these multihyphal structures is discussed. Some epidemiological aspects were also studied: several understorey species of the holm oak (Quercus ilex) woodland were susceptible to in vitro infection with three isolates of P. ramorum originally collected from different ornamental hosts. The risk of spread to this ecosystem is evaluated.
Mycological Research 12/2006; 110(Pt 11):1323-32. · 2.81 Impact Factor