Phosphonates control many plant diseases caused by Phytophthora, at concentrations in planta which only partially inhibit pathogen growth in vitro. One of the consequences of phosphonate treatment is that it induces a strong and rapid defence response in the challenged host plant, and this is sufficient in tobacco, capsicum and cowpea to fully limit the pathogen. We conclude that the combined effects of direct inhibition of the pathogen and enhanced host defence responses are responsible for the ability of phosphonates to provide effective, durable control of plant diseases at low application rates.
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