Emergent Ascomycetes in Viticulture: An Interdisciplinary Overview

Front Plant Sci. 2019 Nov 22;10:1394. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01394. eCollection 2019.


The reduction of pesticide usage is a current imperative and the implementation of sustainable viticulture is an urgent necessity. A potential solution, which is being increasingly adopted, is offered by the use of grapevine cultivars resistant to its main pathogenic threats. This, however, has contributed to changes in defense strategies resulting in the occurrence of secondary diseases, which were previously controlled. Concomitantly, the ongoing climate crisis is contributing to destabilizing the increasingly dynamic viticultural context. In this review, we explore the available knowledge on three Ascomycetes which are considered emergent and causal agents of powdery mildew, black rot and anthracnose. We also aim to provide a survey on methods for phenotyping disease symptoms in fields, greenhouse and lab conditions, and for disease control underlying the insurgence of pathogen resistance to fungicide. Thus, we discuss fungal genetic variability, highlighting the usage and development of molecular markers and barcoding, coupled with genome sequencing. Moreover, we extensively report on the current knowledge available on grapevine-ascomycete interactions, as well as the mechanisms developed by the host to counteract the attack. Indeed, to better understand these resistance mechanisms, it is relevant to identify pathogen effectors which are involved in the infection process and how grapevine resistance genes function and impact the downstream cascade. Dealing with such a wealth of information on both pathogens and the host, the horizon is now represented by multidisciplinary approaches, combining traditional and innovative methods of cultivation. This will support the translation from theory to practice, in an attempt to understand biology very deeply and manage the spread of these Ascomycetes.

Keywords: anthracnose; black rot; disease resistance loci; disease symptom phenotyping; genetic diversity; grapevine; powdery mildew; transcriptomics.

Publication types

  • Review