The goal of this study was to develop a procedure that could be used to evaluate the potential susceptibility of aquatic plants used in constructed wetlands to species of Phytophthora commonly found in nurseries. V8 agar plugs from actively growing cultures of three or four isolates of Phytophthora cinnamomi, P. citrophthora, P. cryptogea, P. nicotianae, and P. palmivora were used to produce inocula. In a laboratory experiment, plugs were placed in plastic cups and covered with 1.5% nonsterile soil extract solution (SES) for 29 days, and zoospore presence and activity in the solution were monitored at 2- or 3-day intervals with a rhododendron leaf disk baiting bioassay. In a greenhouse experiment, plugs of each species of Phytophthora were placed in plastic pots and covered with either SES or Milli-Q water for 13 days during both summer and winter months, and zoospore presence in the solutions were monitored at 3-day intervals with the baiting bioassay and by filtration. Zoospores were present in solutions throughout the 29-day and 13-day experimental periods but consistency of zoospore release varied by species. In the laboratory experiment, colonization of leaf baits decreased over time for some species and often varied among isolates within a species. In the greenhouse experiment, bait colonization decreased over time in both summer and winter, varied among species of Phytophthora in the winter, and was better in Milli-Q water. Zoospore densities in solutions were greater in the summer than in the winter. Decreased zoospore activities for some species of Phytophthora were associated with prolonged temperatures below 13 or above 30°C in the greenhouse. Zoospores from plugs were released consistently in aqueous solutions for at least 13 days. This procedure can be used to provide in situ inocula for the five species of Phytophthora used in this study so that aquatic plant species can be evaluated for potential susceptibility.
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