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Phenotypic Characterization of Genetically Distinct Phytophthora cinnamomi Isolates from Avocado

Belisle, Rodger J., McKee, Brandon, Hao, Wei, Crowley, Margaret, Arpaia, Mary Lu, Miles, Timothy D., Adaskaveg, James E., Manosalva, Patricia
Phytopathology 2019 v.109 no.3 pp. 384-394
Nicotiana benthamiana, Phytophthora cinnamomi, avocados, breeding programs, growth retardation, inoculation methods, median effective concentration, mycelium, pathogens, phenotype, phenotypic variation, potassium phosphite, root rot, rootstocks, temperature, virulence, California
Phytophthora cinnamomi, the causal agent of Phytophthora root rot (PRR), is the most destructive disease of avocado worldwide. A previous study identified two genetically distinct clades of A2 mating type avocado isolates in California; however, the phenotypic variation among them was not assessed. This study described the phenotype of a subset of isolates from these groups regarding growth rate, growth temperature, virulence, and fungicide sensitivity. Isolates corresponding to the A2 clade I group exhibited higher mycelial growth rate and sensitivity to higher temperatures than other isolates. Among the fungicides tested, potassium phosphite had the highest 50% effective concentration for mycelial growth inhibition and oxathiapiprolin had the lowest. Mycelial growth rate and potassium phosphite sensitivity phenotypes correlate with specific groups of isolates, suggesting that these traits could be a group characteristic. Moreover, isolates that are more virulent in avocado and less sensitive to potassium phosphite were identified. A detached-leaf P. cinnamomi inoculation method using Nicotiana benthamiana was developed and validated, providing an alternative method for assessing the virulence of a large number of isolates. This information will help avocado PRR management and assist breeding programs for the selection of rootstocks resistant against a more diverse pathogen population.