Sarah E. Braun,
Louela A. Castrillo,
John P. Sanderson,
Margery L. Daughtrey, and
Stephen P. Wraight
First, second, and third authors: Department of Entomology, and fourth author: Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-0901; and fifth author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health, Ithaca, NY 14853-2901.
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Accepted for publication 5 August 2010.
Fungus gnats have been shown to transmit a variety of plant-pathogenic fungi that produce aerial dispersal stages. However, few studies have examined potential interactions between fungus gnats and oomycetes, including Pythium spp. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted to determine whether fungus gnat adults are vectors of several common greenhouse Pythium spp., including Pythium aphanidermatum, P. irregulare, and P. ultimum. An additional objective was to determine whether P. aphanidermatum can be maintained transstadially in the gut of a fungus gnat larva through the pupal stadium to be transmitted by the subsequent adult. Adult fungus gnats did not pick up infectious Pythium propagules from diseased plants and transmit them to healthy plants in any experiment. Species-specific primers and a probe for real-time polymerase chain reaction were developed to detect the presence of P. aphanidermatum DNA in fungus gnat tissue samples. P. aphanidermatum DNA was detectable in the larval and pupal stages; however, none was detected in adult fungus gnats. These results are in agreement with previous studies that have suggested that adult fungus gnats are unlikely vectors of Pythium spp.
© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society