Investigating the biocontrol potential and reproductive biology of Phlebiopsis gigantea
Brown, Justin Elliott
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This study examined the ability of Phlebiopsis gigantea to act as a biocontrol agent for Heterobasidion Root Disease in the southeastern U.S., and also explored the reproductive biology of P. gigantea. The biocontrol efficacy of a P. gigantea isolate native to Alabama was tested in a field trial, and provided significant control of Heterobasidion Root Disease, reducing colonization of the pathogen by about two-thirds, even when treatment was delayed by 3 days. The impact of P. gigantea stump treatments on the prevalence of airborne P. gigantea spores in the environment was tested in a field trial, and it was determined that the stump treatments did not result in an increase in P. gigantea present in the environment. Investigation of homothallic behavior in P. gigantea, a species thought to be a heterothallic, revealed evidence of bonafide sexual fruiting in P. gigantea colonies that were generated from single basidiospores.