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Contrasting Genetic Structure Between Magnaporthe grisea Populations Associated with the Golf Course Turfgrasses Lolium perenne (Perennial Ryegrass) and Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyugrass)

January 2011 , Volume 101 , Number  1
Pages  85 - 91

Greg W. Douhan, Karla A. de la Cerda, Karyn L. Huryn, Christopher A. Greer, and Francis P. Wong

First, second, third, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside 92521; and fourth author: University of California, Cooperative Extension, Colusa County, Colusa 95932.

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Accepted for publication 21 August 2010.

Gray leaf spot (GLS) disease of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and kikuyugrass (Pennisetum clandestinum) in golf courses in California was first noted in 2001 and 2003, respectively, and within 5 years had become well established. The causal agent of the disease is the fungus Magnaporthe grisea, which is known to consist primarily of clonal lineages that are highly host specific. Therefore, our objective was to investigate host specificity and population dynamics among isolates associated primarily from perennial ryegrass and kikuyugrass since the disease emerged at similar times in California. We also obtained isolates from additional hosts (tall fescue, St. Augustinegrass, weeping lovegrass, and rice) and from the eastern United States for comparative purposes. A total of 38 polymorphic amplified fragment length polymorphism makers were scored from 450 isolates which clustered by host with high bootstrap support (71 to 100%). Genetic structure between kikuyugrass and perennial ryegrass isolates differed significantly. Isolates from kikuyugrass were genotypically diverse (n = 34), possessed both mating types, and some tests for random mating could not be rejected, whereas isolates from perennial ryegrass were less genotypically diverse (n = 10) and only consisted of a single mating type. Low genotypic diversity was also found among the other host specific isolates which also only consisted of a single mating type. This is the first study to document evidence for the potential of sexual reproduction to occur in M. grisea isolates not associated with rice (Oryza sativa). Moreover, given the significant host specificity and contrasting genetic structures between turfgrass-associated isolates, the recent emergence of GLS on various grass hosts in California suggests that potential cultural practices or environmental changes have become conducive for the disease and that the primary inoculum may have already been present in the state, despite the fact that two genotypes associated with perennial ryegrass and St. Augustinegrass in California were the same as isolates collected from the eastern United States.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2011.