African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5230

Full Length Research Paper

The influence of mitochondrial inhibitors on the life cycle of Phytophthora

Chantel W. Swart1, Pieter W. J. van Wyk2, Carolina H. Pohl1, Wilma M. Kriel1 and Johan L. F. Kock1*
1UNESCO-MIRCEN: Industrial Biotechnology, Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa. 2Centre for Microscopy, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 29 August 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2011


The anti-mitochondrial antifungal hypothesis implies a link between mitochondrial activity, fungal fruiting structures and susceptibility towards mitochondrial inhibitors. Here it is shown that the oomycete, Phytophthora nicotianae fits the hypothesis. Fruiting structures (zoosporangia) of this oomycete showed increased beta (β)-oxidation when probing levels of 3-hydroxy fatty acids (3-OH oxylipins) with specific polyclonal antibodies. In addition, increased mitochondrial activity was also observed in the zoosporangia when the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (Δψm) probe, Rhodamine 123 was added to the culture. This indicates increased mitochondrial activity in the zoosporangia when compared to the hyphae. When the anti-mitochondrial drug acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) was added to cultures of this oomycete, the zoosporangia were, as expected, most susceptible and were drastically inhibited in the presence of 1 mM of this compound. Similar ASA inhibition results were recorded for P. citrophthora. It is concluded that anti-mitochondrial compounds may find application in combating these devastating plant pathogens and that urgent further research is needed in this direction. 


Key words: Acetylsalicylic acid, antifungal, anti-mitochondrial, asci, Phytophthora, plant pathogen.