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Emergence of Stemphylium Leaf Blight of Onion in New York Associated With Fungicide Resistance

Hay, Frank S., Sharma, Sandeep, Hoepting, Christy, Strickland, David, Luong, Karen, Pethybridge, Sarah J.
Plant disease 2019 v.103 no.12 pp. 3083-3092
Alternaria porri, Botrytis squamosa, Peronospora destructor, Stemphylium vesicarium, active ingredients, azoxystrobin, boscalid, calmodulin, conidia, crop production, crops, cyprodinil, cytochrome b, dieback, difenoconazole, disease control, downy mildew, enzymes, fluopyram, foliar diseases, fungicide resistance, genes, germination, internal transcribed spacers, iprodione, leaf blight, leaves, mechanism of action, median effective concentration, mycelium, onions, phenotype, point mutation, pyraclostrobin, pyrimethanil, quinones, ribosomal DNA, surveys, New York
A complex of foliar diseases affects onion production in New York, including Botrytis leaf blight (Botrytis squamosa), purple blotch (Alternaria porri), Stemphylium leaf blight (SLB; Stemphylium vesicarium), and downy mildew (Peronospora destructor). Surveys were conducted in 2015 and 2016 to evaluate the cause of severe premature foliar dieback in New York onion fields. SLB was the most prevalent disease among fields with the greatest incidence, surpassing downy mildew, purple blotch, and Botrytis leaf blight. Sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region of ribosomal DNA and the glyceraldedyhe-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and calmodulin genes identified S. vesicarium as the species most commonly associated with SLB. S. vesicarium was typically associated with a broad range of necrotic symptoms but, most commonly, dieback of leaf tips and asymmetric lesions that often extended over the entire leaf. Because of the intensive use of fungicides for foliar disease control in onion crops in New York, the sensitivity of S. vesicarium populations to various fungicides with site-specific modes of action was evaluated. Sensitivity of S. vesicarium isolates collected in 2016 to the quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) fungicide, azoxystrobin, was tested using a conidial germination assay. Isolates representing a broad range of QoI sensitivities were selected for sequencing of the cytochrome b gene to evaluate the presence of point mutations associated with insensitivity to azoxystrobin. The G143A mutation was detected in all 74 S. vesicarium isolates with an azoxystrobin-insensitive phenotype (effective concentrations reducing conidial germination by 50%, EC₅₀ = 0.2 to 46.7 µg of active ingredient [a.i.]/ml) and was not detected in all 31 isolates with an azoxystrobin-sensitive phenotype (EC₅₀ = 0.01 to 0.16 µg a.i./ml). The G143A mutation was also associated with insensitivity to another QoI fungicide, pyraclostrobin. Sensitivity to other selected fungicides commonly used in onion production in New York was evaluated using a mycelial growth assay and identified isolates with insensitivity to boscalid, cyprodinil, and pyrimethanil, but not difenoconazole. The frequency of isolates sensitive to iprodione, fluxapyroxad, and fluopyram was high (93.5 to 93.6%). This article discusses the emergence of SLB as dominant in the foliar disease complex affecting onion in New York and the complexities of management posed by resistance to fungicides with different modes of action.