The Botanical Review

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 147–194 | Cite as

The host range of infectious hairy-root

  • Marcel De Cleene
  • Jozef De Ley


According to the literature, the distinctive symptom of the hairy-root disease is the formation of a mass of adventitious roots on the stem of the host plant. Hairy-root was divided into four diseases: infectious hairy-root, non-infectious hairy-root, crown gall and wound overgrowth.

Infectious hairy-root, caused byAgrobacterium rhizogenes, seems to have the greatest economic importance. Its host range is not very well known. It has been found under natural conditions on apple trees and on two species ofSpiraea. Cross-inoculation results are known for 33 plant species. We extended this information by wounding and inoculating 192 plant species, belonging to 83 families, withA. rhizogenes strain TR7.

We also attempted to correlate the susceptibility of plants to hairy-root with known or presumed relationships according to Engler (1954, 1964) and Takhtajan (1969). Three lower plants and the only gymnosperm inoculated are not sensitive to the disease. None of our bacterial inoculations on 16 monocots resulted in hairy-root. Eighteen percent (=37 species) of the 202 inoculated dicotyledonous plants are host plants: they belong to 30 genera and 15 families. Thirty-three of the 37 host plants (=89%) belong to the closely related and highly developed subclassesAsteridae andRosidae. There are indications that families which are typical phenol accumulators are more susceptible to the disease.

The pathogenic specificity of A.rhizogenes was also compared with that of A.tumefaciens. Tumorigenic and rhizogenic activities can be induced by both bacterial strains. Up to now, there is no evidence that crown gall and hairy-root neoplasms are substantially different. The underlying concepts for root and tumor formation are discussed.


Host Plant Hairy Root Host Range Botanical Review Adventitious Root 


Le symptôme le plus distinctif de “hairy-root” est selon la litérature la formation d’une masse de racines adventives sur la tige des plantes hôtes. “Hairy-root” était divisée en quatre groupes: “infectious hairy-root,” “non-infectious hairy-root,” “crown gall” (galle de la couronne), et tissus de blessure.

Infectious “hairy-root,” provoquée parAgrobacterium rhizogenes semble avoir la plus grande importance sur le plan économique. La maladie a été constatée dans des conditions naturelles sur des pommiers et sur deux espèces deSpiraea. Des résultats d’inoculations expérimentales sont connus pour 33 espèces de plantes. Nous avons élargi cette information en blessant et inoculant 192 espèces appartenantes à 83 familles, avec la souche TR7 d’A.rhizogenes.

En outre, nous avons essayé d’établir un rapport entre la susceptibilité des plantes au “hairy-root” et les relations taxonomiques connues et/ou proposées (d’après les systèmes d’Engler (1954, 1964) et de Takhtajan, 1969). Trois plantes inférieures et la seule plante gymnosperme étudiée ne sont pas sensibles à la maladie. Aucune des inoculations, faites sur 16 espèces monocotylédones provoquait une réaction pathologique. Dix-huit pourcent (=37 espèces) des 202 dicotylédones étudiées, étaient des plantes hôtes: elles appartiennent à 30 genres et 15 familles. Trente-trois des 37 plantes hôtes (=89%) appartiennent aux sous-classesAsteridae etRosidae, sous-classes qui sont très évoluées et étroitement liées. Il y a des indications que des familles, caractérisées par des accumulations typiques de phénols, sont plus sensibles à la maladie.

La spécificité pathologique d’A.rhizogenes a aussi été comparée avec celle d’A.tumefaciens. Les deux espèces bactériennes peuvent induire des activités tumorigènes et rhizogènes. Jusqu’à présent il n’y a aucune épreuve que “crown gall” et “hairy-root” sont fondamentalement différent. Les phénomènes de base menant à la formation de racines et de tumeurs sont discutés.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel De Cleene
    • 1
  • Jozef De Ley
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorium voor PlantenfysiologieRijksuniversiteitGentBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratorium voor Microbiologie en microbiële GeneticaRijksuniversiteitGentBelgium

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