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Development of a high throughput optical density assay to determine fungicide sensitivity of oomycetes

Hunter, Shannon, McDougal, Rebecca, Clearwater, Mike J., Williams, Nari, Scott, Peter
Journal of microbiological methods 2018 v.154 pp. 33-39
Phytophthora cinnamomi, absorbance, biological resistance, fungicides, growth retardation, inventories, median effective concentration, mycelium
A high-throughput assay was developed to screen Phytophthora species for fungicide sensitivity using optical density measurements for unbiased, automated measurement of mycelial growth. The efficacy of the optical density assay (OD) to measure phosphite sensitivity in Phytophthora species was compared to two widely used methods, radial growth (RG) and dry weight (DW) assays. Three isolates of each of Phytophthora cinnamomi, P. multivora and P. pluvialis, with known phosphite exposure and three isolates of each species with no prior phosphite exposure, were screened for phosphite sensitivity using the three assays. Mycelial growth measurements were taken after culturing for 6, 14 and 15 days for the OD, DW and RG assays respectively. Mycelial growth inhibition at 15, 80, 200 and 500 μg/mL phosphite relative to growth on control media was used to determine effective concentration values for 50% growth reduction (EC50). The species varied in their tolerance to phosphite with P. cinnamomi being the least sensitive followed by P. multivora and P. pluvialis. No significant differences in tolerance were found between isolates within the same species using any method. The OD assay produced comparable EC50 values to the RG and DW assays. The growth of the three species was more sensitive to phosphite in the DW than the RG and OD assays, however limited sample throughput and greater variation in measuring small amounts of mycelia in the dry weight assessment increase variability and limits throughput. The OD assay offers a fast method to enable an inventory of chemical resistance and is particularly advantageous for slow growing species as it requires less time and offers greater throughput than existing RG and DW methods.