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POSTERS: Biological control

Mycoparasitism and Host-Specificity of Sphaerellopsis Species on Rust Fungi.
Paula Gomez Zapata - Purdue University. Mary Catherine Aime- Purdue University

Rust fungi are major pathogens in important crops. Although fungicides are almost the only and the most common option to control these pathogens, they are not practical in forestry and unacceptable in management of organic crops. The fungus Sphaerellopsis has been found worldwide on different rust species associated with degradation of rust sori and prevention of rust spore dissemination. To better understand the relationship between Sphaerellopsis and rust species, this study focuses on determining the phylogenetic relationships of the mycoparasite to examine for evidence of host-specificity and create a baseline for further studies in rust biocontrol. Samples used in this study were taken from rust specimens at the Arthur Fungarium collected in different continents. DNA was extracted to amplify gene regions including ITS and LSU. The sequence data were used for phylogenetic analysis. The results showed levels of host-specificity within the Sphaerellopsis species that infect rusts in the genera Melampsora, Coleosporium, and Puccinia which raise the possibility that this mycoparasite might have potential as a biological control of rusts where fungicide application is not possible.