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A new plant pathogenic sterile white basidiomycete from Australia

Vinnere, O., Fatehi, J., Sivasithamparam, K., Gerhardson, B.
European journal of plant pathology 2005 v.112 no.1 pp. 63-77
Agonomycetes, plant pathogenic fungi, fungal diseases of plants, Stenotaphrum secundatum, pasture plants, pastures, mycelium, pathogenicity, sporulation, ribosomal RNA, ribosomal DNA, internal transcribed spacers, molecular systematics, phylogeny, new species, Western Australia
A sterile white fungus was isolated from the healthy looking roots of buffalo grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) grown on cleared bush land in Perth, Western Australia. The fungal strain was pathogenic on 12 plant species screened under the greenhouse conditions. The clamp connections and dolipore septa indicated that the isolate was a Basidiomycete. Mycelial features, growth rate at different temperatures, as well as pathogenicity patterns of this sterile white basidiomycete (SWB) were distinctly different from those of a strain with a similar morphology, ATCC 28344, previously described as a pathogen in Florida and Georgia (USA). All attempts to induce sporulation failed. The isolates were also compared using the nucleotide sequence analysis of the ribosomal DNA array. Approximately 1 kbp of the 5' end of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene, complete sequences of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene and the entire ITS region (including ITS1, ITS2 and 5.8S gene) were sequenced for the purpose. The obtained sequences were compared with the homologous regions of other genera of Agaricales available in GenBank. Relatively low sequence similarities between the American and Australian strains, as well as the phylogenetic analysis of the studied regions has suggested that these two fungi belong to different genera. Interesting results were achieved in the case of the large subunit ribosomal DNA since this region has been widely studied for taxonomy of Basidiomycetes. The Australian strain 3034 appeared to be closely related to the genus Campanella and the American SWB was identified as belonging to the genus Marasmius, possibly to M. graminum. Our data suggest that the Australian strain is a novel pathogen, and is different from the American SWB isolates described to date.