Phytophthora root rot of citrus in Florida is caused by Phytophthora nicotianae and P. palmivora. A naturally occurring isolate of P. nicotianae (Pn117) was characterized as hypovirulent on citrus roots. Pn117 infected and colonized fibrous roots, but caused significantly less disease than the virulent isolates P. nicotianae Pn198 and P. palmivora Pp99. Coincident inoculation of rootstock seedlings of Cleopatra mandarin (Citrus reticulata) or Swingle citrumelo (C. paradisi × Poncirus trifoliata) with the hypovirulent Pn117 and the virulent isolates Pn198 and Pp99 did not reduce the severity of disease caused by the virulent Phytophthora spp. When either rootstock was inoculated with the hypovirulent Pn117 for 3 days prior to inoculation with virulent isolates, preinoculated seedlings had significantly less disease and greater root weight compared with seedlings inoculated with the virulent isolates alone. Recovery of the different colony types of Phytophthora spp. from roots of sweet orange (C. sinensis) or Swingle citrumelo was evaluated on semiselective medium after sequential inoculations with the hypovirulent Pn117 and virulent Pp99. Pn117 was isolated from roots at the same level as the Pp99 at 3 days post inoculation. Preinoculation of Pn117 for 3 days followed by inoculation with Pp99 resulted in greater recovery of the hypovirulent isolate and lower recovery of the virulent compared with coincident inoculation.
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