Gummy stem blight (GSB), caused by the fungus Didymella bryoniae, is considered the most widespread and destructive disease of watermelon in the southeastern United States. The quinone outside-inhibiting (QoI) fungicide azoxystrobin (AZO), which inhibits mitochondrial respiration by binding to the outer, quinone-oxidizing pocket of the cytochrome bc1 (cyt b) enzyme complex, was initially very effective in controlling GSB. However, resistance to AZO has been observed in D. bryoniae in many watermelon-producing regions. In this study, the DNA sequences of partial cyt b genes of four AZO-resistant (AZO-R) and four AZO-sensitive (AZO-S) isolates of D. bryoniae confirmed the amino acid substitution of glycine by alanine at the 143 codon (G143A) in the AZO-R isolates tested. Allele-specific primers were designed to detect the resistant or sensitive allele at codon 143 of the cyt b gene, which amplified a 165-bp polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product from genomic DNA of nine AZO-R and nine AZO-S isolates of D. bryoniae, respectively. The primer pairs did not amplify DNA from other pathogens tested in the study. The results indicated that the PCR assays developed in the study were specific in differentiating AZO-R and AZO-S isolates and could facilitate AZO resistance detection in D. bryoniae.
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