Morphological characteristics and vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs) of 486 isolates of Glomerella cingulata, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, and C. acutatum collected from apple leaves with Glomerella leaf spot (GLS) symptoms and fruit with bitter rot symptoms in the United States and Brazil were studied. From this collection, 155 isolates of G. cingulata (93 from fruit, 61 from leaves, and 1 from buds), 42 isolates of C. gloeosporioides from fruit, and 14 isolates of C. acutatum (10 from fruit and 4 from leaves) were studied using mitochondrial (mt)DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) haplotypes. A subset of 24 isolates was studied by examining the sequence of a 200-bp intron of the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GDPH) nuclear gene. In addition, 98 isolates were tested for pathogenicity on leaves of cvs. Gala and Golden Delicious in the greenhouse, and 24 isolates were tested for pathogenicity on fruit of cv. Gala in growth chambers. In total, 238 and 225 isolates of G. cingulata were separated into four distinct morphological types and six VCGs, respectively. Five morphological types and six VCGs were identified among 74 and 36 isolates of C. gloeosporioides, respectively. Three morphological types and four VCGs were identified among 74 and 23 isolates of C. acutatum, respectively. Seven different mtDNA RFLP haplotypes were observed within isolates of G. cingulata, two within isolates of C. gloeosporioides, and two within isolates of C. acutatum. Phylogenetic trees, inferred based on maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony methods using the intron sequence, produced similar topologies. Each species was separated into distinct groups. All isolates tested were pathogenic on fruit, though only isolates with specific VCGs and haplotypes were pathogenic to leaves. Vegetative compatibility was a better tool than molecular characters for distinguishing isolates of G. cingulata pathogenic on both leaves and fruit from the ones pathogenic only on fruit. Isolates of G. cingulata capable of causing both GLS and bitter rot were included in haplotypes and groups based on the sequence analysis of the 200-bp intron that also included isolates capable of causing bitter rot only. Additionally, isolates of G. cingulata from the United States and Brazil which cause GLS were included in different haplotypes and sequence analysis groups. Therefore, one hypothesis is that isolates of G. cingulata from the United States capable of causing both GLS on foliage and bitter rot on fruit may have arisen independently of Brazilian isolates of G. cingulata capable of causing both GLS and bitter rot, and the two groups of isolates may represent distinct populations.
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