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We perform a meta-analysis to search for a relation between the trophic type and latent period of fungal pathogens. Pathogen incubation period and level of resistance of the hosts were also investigated. This ecological knowledge would help us to more efficiently regulate crop epidemics for different types of pathogens. We gathered latent period data from 103 studies dealing with 51 fungal pathogens of the 3 major trophic types: 25 biotrophs, 15 hemibiotrophs, and 11 necrotrophs representing 2,542 mean latent periods. We show that these three trophic types display significantly different latent periods. Necrotrophs exhibited the shortest latent periods (< 100 DD), biotrophs intermediate ones (between 100 and 200 DD) and hemibiotrophs the longest (> 200 DD). We argue that this relation between trophic type and latent period points to two opposing host exploitation strategies: necrotrophs mount a rapid destructive attack on the host tissue, while biotrophs and hemibiotrophs avoid or delay the damaging phase. We query the definition of hemibiotrophic pathogens and discuss whether the length of the latent period is determined by the physiological limits inherent to each trophic type or by the adaptation of pathogens of different trophic types to the contrasting conditions experienced in their interaction with the host.
PMID: 31577162 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]