Surface ultrastructural studies on the germination, penetration and conidial development of Aspergillus flavus Link:Fries infecting silkworm, Bombyx mori Linn.

Author: Kumar V, Singh GP, Babu AM

Date: 1 January 2000


Aspergillosis is a common disease of the silkworm Bombyx mori Linn., caused by an insect mycopathogen Aspergillus flavus Link:Fries. The present study reveals the germination, penetration and conidial development of A. flavus on the larval integument of B. mori under SEM. Four different strains (NB18, KA, NB4D2 and NB7) of B. mori was surface inoculated with ca. of 1 x 10(6) conidia/ml. Each conidium germinated on the cuticle approximately 6 h after inoculation, forming a humpy or suctorial appressoria within 24 h. The hyphae which entered into haemocoel 2 day post-inoculation, grew and multiplied extensively, forming a mycelial complex, causing death of the host larva in about 4-5 days. This occurred with minimal breakdown of the internal tissues. Death of the host was followed by ramification of the fungus through the mesodermal and epidermal tissues, leading to larval mummification about 5-6 days after inoculation. Extensive fungal growths on the entire larval body followed, consisting of aerial hyphae, which developed branched conidiophores. The aerial hyphae with abundant conidiophores formed a confluent yellowish green fungal mat over the entire larval body in 6-7 days of post-inoculation. The tip of each emerging conidiophores gradually dilated and developed to become a bulbous head known as the vesicle. A large number of conidiogenous cells were produced over the entire surface of vesicle, which later developed into finger-like projections termed as sterigmata or phialides. The phialides matured within 2 days after the aerial hyphae emerged as evidenced by chains of conidia at their tips. The conidia were globose with externally roughened walls. The life cycle of the fungus on B. mori was completed in six to seven days.

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