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Aggressiveness of Mycosphaerella graminicola Isolates from Susceptible and Partially Resistant Wheat Cultivars

June 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  6
Pages  624 - 630

Christina Cowger and Christopher C. Mundt

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, 2082 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331

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Accepted for publication 28 February 2002.

The selective effect of quantitative host resistance on pathogen aggressiveness is poorly understood. Because two previous experiments with a small number of bread wheat cultivars and isolates of Mycosphaerella graminicola had indicated that more susceptible hosts selected for more aggressive isolates, we conducted a larger experiment to test that hypothesis. In each of 2 years, six cultivars differing in their levels of partial resistance were planted in field plots, and isolates were collected from each cultivar early and late in the growing season. The isolates were inoculated as populations bulked by cultivar of origin, field replicate, and collection date on seedlings of the same six cultivars in the greenhouse. The selective impact of a cultivar on aggressiveness was measured as the difference in aggressiveness between early and late isolates from that cultivar. Regression of those differences on disease severity in the field yielded significance values of 0.0531 and 0.0037 for the 2 years, with moderately resistant cultivars selecting for more aggressive isolates. In a related experiment, the protectant fungicide chlorothalonil was applied to plots of two susceptible cultivars to retard epidemic development. When tested in the greenhouse, isolates of M. graminicola from those plots were significantly more aggressive than isolates from the same cultivars unprotected by fungicide.

Additional keywords: pathogenicity, Septoria tritici blotch, Triticum aestivum , virulence.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society