European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 155, Issue 4, pp 1303–1317 | Cite as

Interaction of Colletotrichum coccodes and Verticillium dahliae in pepper plants

  • L. Tyvaert
  • E. Everaert
  • L. Lippens
  • W. J. M. Cuijpers
  • S. C. França
  • M. HöfteEmail author


Wilting of sweet pepper plants is leading to significant yield losses in organic cultivation in glasshouses in the Netherlands. Verticillium dahliae was consistently isolated from affected plants and is known to cause wilting of plants. While sampling sweet pepper plants, root discoloration and damage of the root cortex were observed. Colletotrichum coccodes was isolated from affected roots. To study the co-occurrence and interaction of both pathogens, sweet pepper plants with, and without wilting symptoms were collected from the glasshouse. V. dahliae was only isolated from plants with wilting symptoms, while C. coccodes was also found on symptomless plants. Single or combined inoculations with V. dahliae and C. coccodes were performed on pepper seedlings to study the pathogenicity and the interaction of both pathogens. Symptom development was evaluated and fungal colonization was measured in the roots and stem with real-time PCR. V. dahliae induced stunted growth, while C. coccodes did not induce symptoms on the shoot. C. coccodes reduced root weight when plants grew under suboptimal conditions but under optimal conditions for plant growth, C. coccodes reduced V. dahliae colonization and symptom development. In conclusion, V. dahliae is the causal agent of wilting of pepper plants and C. coccodes is a weak pathogen, with antagonistic or neutral effects on symptom development and colonization by V. dahliae. This work can contribute to the understanding of soilborne diseases and their interaction with each other.


Soilborne pathogens Verticillium wilt Root rot Capsicum annuum 



The authors would like to thank the farmer Frank de Koning for his hospitality, Ilse Delaere and Nadia Lemeire for their technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest (financial or non-financial).

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This research does not involve human participants and/or animals.

Informed consent

Not necessary, the research does not involve human participants.

Supplementary material

10658_2019_1857_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (89 kb)
Fig. S1 Plant height after inoculation of V. dahliae and/or C. coccodes. Data are pooled from repetition 1 (24 dpi) and repetition 2 (27 dpi). 3-week old seedlings were inoculated by the root-dip method. Control: water; Vd: 103 V. dahliae mL−1; Cc(3) and Cc(4): 103 or 2.7 × 104 conidia of C. coccodes mL−1; Vd + Cc(3) and Vd + Cc(4): 103 conidia of V. dahliae mL−1 + 103 or 2.7 × 104 conidia of C. coccodes mL−1. Data are presented as boxplots from 18 plants. Different letters indicate results, which differ significantly at p < 0.05 by the Dunn Test. (PDF 88 kb)
10658_2019_1857_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (267 kb)
Fig. S2 Plant height (a) and relative colonization by C. coccodes of the roots (b) and V. dahliae of the roots (c) and stem (d) of pepper plants inoculated with V. dahliae and/or C. coccodes, 41 dpi. 3-week old seedlings were inoculated by the root-dip method. Control: water; Vd(4): 104 V. dahliae mL−1; Cc(3) and Cc(4): 1 × 103 or 2.7 × 104 conidia of C. coccodes mL−1; Vd(4) + Cc(3) and Vd(4) + Cc(4): 104 conidia of V. dahliae mL−1 + 103 or 2.7 × 104 conidia of C. coccodes mL−1. For the plant height, data are presented as boxplots from 6 plants. Different letters indicate results, which differ significantly at p < 0.05 by the Dunn Test (a). For relative colonization, six plants per treatment were analyzed and the number of plants in which C. coccodes or V. dahliae could be detected is indicated above the bars (n). Data are presented as boxplots from the n plants.* only five plants were analyzed instead of six (b,c,d). (PDF 267 kb)


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Phytopathology, Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Louis Bolk InstituteAJ BunnikNetherlands
  3. 3.R&D DepartmentBiobest Group NVWesterloBelgium

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