United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Waste Management & Forage Research Unit, Mississippi State 39762
Leaf samples of forage bermudagrass with symptoms of infection by species of Bipolaris, Curvularia, and Exserohilum (dematiaceous hyphomycetes) were collected from three swine waste application sites in Mississippi at eight sampling times during each of 3 years. Samples were assayed for pathogens by observing sporulation on plated leaf tissue. Among 3,600 leaves assayed, eight species of the three genera were observed. Features and criteria for the practical identification of species on plated leaf samples are described. Sporulation by dematiaceous hyphomycetes was observed on 97% of leaves; a single pathogen was observed on 20% and two to five pathogens were observed on 77% of leaves. Distributions of leaves among classes with one to five pathogens per leaf, for sites within years, always differed significantly (P = 0.01) from a Poisson distribution and usually included fewer leaves than expected with four or five pathogens. Significant (P = 0.05) variation in frequencies of occurrence of pathogens among 72 samples of 50 leaves each was attributed to pathogen species, sampling times, and species-time interactions. Exserohilum rostratum, Curvularia lunata, and Bipolaris cynodontis were the most frequent pathogens across years and sites; B. spicifera and C. geniculata were intermediate; and B. hawaiiensis, B. sorokiniana, and B. stenospila were least frequent. For the five most common pathogens, significant differences in frequency among locations were commonplace. Six pathogens exhibited significant (P = 0.05) positive and negative correlations with others in overall frequencies of occurrence across years, sampling times, and sites. However, χ2 tests of dual occurrence indicated that interactions between specific pairs of pathogens in or on leaves are not likely to be major causes for overall frequency correlations. Results indicate that dematiaceous hyphomycetes typically infect forage bermudagrass on swine waste application sites in complexes rather than as individual species; that E. rostratum, C. lunata, and B. cynodontis are the predominant pathogens; and that frequencies of pathogens often differ significantly between locations.