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Phenotypical and Molecular Characterisation of <em>Fusarium circinatum</em>: Correlation with Virulence and Fungicide Sensitivity

Mullett, Martin, Pérez-Sierra, Ana, Armengol, Josep, Berbegal, Mónica
Forests 2017 v.8 no.11
Fusarium circinatum, Pinus pinaster, Pinus radiata, Pinus sylvestris, breeding programs, fludioxonil, median effective concentration, pathogens, pyraclostrobin, tree breeding, virulence
Fusarium circinatum, causing pine pitch canker, is one of the most damaging pathogens of Pinus species. This study investigated the use of phenotypical and molecular characteristics to delineate groups in a worldwide collection of isolates. The groups correlated with virulence and fungicide sensitivity, which were tested in a subset of isolates. Virulence tests of twenty isolates on P. radiata, P. sylvestris and P. pinaster demonstrated differences in host susceptibility, with P. radiata most susceptible and P. sylvestris least susceptible. Sensitivity to the fungicides fludioxonil and pyraclostrobin varied considerably between isolates from highly effective (half-maximal effective concentration (EC<inf>50</inf>) < 0.1 ppm) to ineffective (EC<inf>50</inf> > 100 ppm). This study demonstrates the potential use of simply acquired phenotypical (cultural, morphological) and molecular metrics to gain a preliminary estimate of virulence and sensitivity to certain fungicides. It also highlights the necessity of including a range of isolates in fungicide tests and host susceptibility assays, particularly of relevance to tree breeding programmes.