Washington State University-Mount Vernon Research and Extension Unit, 16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon 98273
Isolates of Phytophthora infestans, collected from bittersweet, hairy nightshade, petunia, potato, potato vine, and tomato in western Washington, 1998 to 1999, were evaluated for virulence complexity as well as mating type, metalaxyl insensitivity, allozymes of glucose-6-phosphate isomerase and peptidase, and DNA fingerprint with the RG57 probe. Results were compared with those from similar collections made in the same region during the 1990s. Generally, virulence complexity was high for most of the isolates regardless of year, genotype, or host. No marked shift in virulence complexity was evident for the populations studied, and unnecessary virulences were maintained. During 1998 and 1999, isolates of the US-8 and US-11 genotypes had 4 or more virulence factors. US-8 isolates averaged 8.2 and 9.3, whereas US-11 isolates averaged 5.4 and 6.3 virulence factors. The frequency of US-8 isolates that were sensitive to metalaxyl ranged from 5% in 1998 to 72% in 1999. All of the US-11 isolates tested in 1998 and 1999 were insensitive to metalaxyl. From 1996 to 1999 on potato, the recovery of US-8 increased, whereas the recovery of US-11 decreased. No evidence of new genotypes or sexual recombination was found. Western Washington was a desirable location for screening germ plasm for durable resistance to late blight due to the high frequency and persistence of complex virulences.