Plasmopara viticola, the causal agent of grapevine downy mildew, is an obligate biotrophic oomycete that grows in the intercellular spaces of host tissues and develops haustoria in the cells. Histological observations are the most effective methods to visualize and quantify the development of the infection structures. We chose two staining techniques leading to high resolution and contrast between parasite structures and host-plant tissues with a minimum of sample preparation: Blankophor and KOH-aniline blue fluorescent stainings. Blankophor (50 ppm in water or 15% KOH) staining was used to study the zoospore encystement on the leaf surface after release from sporangia. The aniline blue dye (0.05% in 0.067 M K2HPO4, pH 9-9.5, after hot KOH whitening) was used to observe the invasive structures inside host tissues that lead to the production of sporangiophores and infectious sporangia. We tested modifications of some parameters of the procedures to determine the most appropriate for high throughput analyses adapted to our pathosystem and equipment facilities. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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