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Environmental and Genetic Factors Influencing Self-Fertility in Phytophthora infestans

September 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  9
Pages  987 - 994

C. D. Smart , H. Mayton , E. S. G. Mizubuti , M. R. Willmann , and W. E. Fry

Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Accepted for publication 25 May 2000.

Phytophthora infestans is generally regarded as heterothallic-requiring physical proximity of two individuals of different mating type (A1 and A2) for oosporogenesis. Recent reports of limited selfing in young cultures of this oomycete stimulated us to investigate factors contributing to the phenomenon. The ability to produce oospores rapidly (within 2 weeks) in pure, single individual cultures (self-fertility) was tested in 116 individual isolates. The 116 isolates were from geographically diverse locations (16 countries) and were genetically diverse. Mating type and growth medium were the most prominent factors in determining if an isolate would be self-fertile. The majority of A2 isolates (45 of 47 tested) produced oospores when grown on a 50:50 mixture of V8 and rye B medium. In contrast, the majority of A1 isolates (65 of 69 tested) did not produce oospores on this medium. None of the 116 isolates produced oospores when grown on rye B medium (with no V8 juice). Further tests on representative A1 and A2 isolates revealed that oatmeal agar, tomato juice agar, and V8-juice agar all induced the A2 mating type isolate to produce oospores but did not induce the A1 mating type isolate to produce oospores. Calcium carbonate and pH did not alter the self-fertile oospore production in either A1 or A2 mating type isolates. For in vivo tests, the application of fungicide to potato or tomato leaf tissue either before or after inoculation did not stimulate any individual isolate (one A2 and one A1 isolate) to produce oospores in infected tissue. However, in all of the controls for all experiments (in vivo and in vitro), many oospores were produced rapidly if both strains grew in physical proximity.

Additional keywords: growth media, late blight.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society