First, third, fourth, and fifth authors: Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana 61801-4723; second author: Istituto Sperimentale per la Patologia Vegetale, Rome; and fifth author: United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Urbana, IL 61801-4723
Diaporthe phaseolorum and Phomopsis longicolla isolates from soybean were examined using traditional mycological characteristics and molecular methods. Cultural characteristics including types of fruiting bodies and conidia were assessed for isolates collected from soybean stems and seeds. Cultures were identified as P. longicolla, D. phaseolorum var. caulivora, D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis, or D. phaseolorum var. sojae. Molecular markers for these groups were developed and analyzed using polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphisms (PCR-RFLP) and DNA sequencing in the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and the 5.8S ribosomal DNA. The ITS4 and ITS5 primers amplified PCR products for all isolates studied. Gel electrophoresis of undigested PCR products and DNA sequencing produced various fragment lengths including 604 bp for P. longicolla, 602 and 603 bp for D. phaseolorum var. caulivora, 603 bp for D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis, and from 597 to 609 bp for D. phaseolorum var. sojae. Digestion of these PCR products with enzymes AluI, HhaI, MseI, RsaI, and ScrFI resulted in distinct bands for identification of P. longicolla and the varieties of D. phaseolorum I. All P. longicolla, D. phaseolorum var. caulivora, and D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis isolates were distinguished using AluI and HhaI with RsaI or ScrFI. The banding patterns of D. phaseolorum var. sojae isolates were complex and were separated into 11 subgroups after digestion with AluI, HhaI, MseI, RsaI, and ScrFI. Phylogenetic analysis of 20 isolates of D. phaseolorum and P. longicolla based on the DNA sequence of the ITS region resolved six clades termed A, B, C, D, E, and F. Clade A included all sequenced D. phaseolorum var. caulivora isolates, two from Italy and one from the United States. Isolates in clade B were exclusively associated with D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis. Clades A and B formed a well-supported monophyletic group. Isolates in clades C, D, E, and F were morphologically defined as isolates of P. longicolla, D. phaseolorum var. sojae, and Diaporthe spp. The ITS sequences similarity of seven geographically diverse P. longi-colla isolates illustrated that P. longicolla isolates have a similar genetic background, with some affiliations to some D. phaseolorum var. sojae isolates. Morphological characteristics of the isolates along with the terminal clades of the ITS phylogeny suggest that P. longicolla is an individual species, D. phaseolorum var. caulivora and D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis are varieties of D. phaseolorum, and D. phaseolorum var. sojae is either several varieties of D. phaseolorum or possibly several distinct species.