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Bermudagrass putting greens: A closer look at the root of the problem.
P. L. VINES (1). (1) Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, U.S.A.

The growth and quality of bermudagrass putting greens decline during the summer and early fall months in the Deep South. The root systems often appear blackened, rotted, or stunted. Dark, runner hyphae are typically associated with roots that appear asymptomatic. The focus of this study was to isolate and identify ectotrophic fungi from healthy roots. Roots from a TifDwarf bermudagrass putting green colonized with dark, runner hyphae were cut into 1-cm sections (<i>n</i> = 200), surface disinfested with a 0.6% NaOCl solution, rinsed three consecutive times with sterile-distilled water, plated on modified potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated for 7 days at room temperature under 24 hour fluorescent light. Hyphal tips were transferred to PDA. Genomic DNA was extracted from sterile pure cultures of isolated fungi. The internal transcribe spacer (ITS) regions of rDNA were amplified by PCR using ITS1 and ITS4 primers. Each of the sequences shared 94 to 95% similarity to other sequences found in the GenBank. Of the ectotrophic fungi isolated from bermudagrass roots, 63% were most similar to <i>Gaeumannomyces cylindrosporus</i>, 26% to <i>Magnaporthe poae</i>, 5% to <i>G. incrustans</i>, and 5% to <i>M. rhizophila</i>. Future research will focus on determining the role each of the fungi play in the decline of the root systems of bermudagrass putting greens.<p><p>Keywords: Fungus, Turfgrass, Warm-season

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