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Grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) are caused by cryptic complexes of fungal pathogens and have become a growing problem for new grapevine (Vitis vinifera) plantations. We studied the role of the nursery, variety, and rootstock in the composition of the fungal communities in root collars and graft unions of planting material in Catalonia (NE Spain). We compared necrosis and fungal communities in graft unions and root collars at harvest, and then after three months of cold storage. We evaluated combinations of eleven red and five white varieties with four common rootstocks coming from six nurseries. Fungal communities were characterized by isolation and metabarcoding of the ITS2 region. Our data suggests that nursery followed by rootstock and variety had significant effects on necrosis and fungal community structure in graft and root tissues. Within the plant, we found large differences in terms fungal community distribution between graft and root tissues. Graft unions housed a significantly higher relative abundance of GTD-related Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) than root collars. More severe necrosis was correlated with a lower relative abundance of GTD-related OTUs based on isolation and metabarcoding analyses. Our results suggest that nurseries and therefore their plant production practices play a major role in determining the fungal and GTD-related fungal community in grapevine plants sold for planting. GTD variation across rootstocks and varieties could be explored as a venue for minimizing pathogen load in young plantations.
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Date: 19th April 2020
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