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Molecular Detection of Peronospora variabilis in Quinoa Seed and Phylogeny of the Quinoa Downy Mildew Pathogen in South America and the United States

April 2014 , Volume 104 , Number  4
Pages  379 - 386

Anna L. Testen, María del Mar Jiménez-Gasco, José B. Ochoa, and Paul A. Backman

First, second, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and third author: INIAP Santa Catalina Station, Quito, Ecuador.

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Accepted for publication 30 October 2013.

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is an important export of the Andean region, and its key disease is quinoa downy mildew, caused by Peronospora variabilis. P. variabilis oospores can be seedborne and rapid methods to detect seedborne P. variabilis have not been developed. In this research, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection method was developed to detect seedborne P. variabilis and a sequencing-based method was used to validate the PCR-based method. P. variabilis was detected in 31 of 33 quinoa seed lots using the PCR-based method and in 32 of 33 quinoa seed lots using the sequencing-based method. Thirty-one of the quinoa seed lots tested in this study were sold for human consumption, with seed originating from six different countries. Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2 (COX2) phylogenies were examined to determine whether geographical differences occurred in P. variabilis populations originating from Ecuador, Bolivia, and the United States. No geographical differences were observed in the ITS-derived phylogeny but the COX2 phylogeny indicated that geographical differences existed between U.S. and South American samples. Both ITS and COX2 phylogenies supported the existence of a Peronospora sp., distinct from P. variabilis, that causes systemic-like downy mildew symptoms on quinoa in Ecuador. The results of these studies allow for a better understanding of P. variabilis populations in South America and identified a new causal agent for quinoa downy mildew. The PCR-based seed detection method allows for the development of P. variabilis-free quinoa seed, which may prove important for management of quinoa downy mildew.

© 2014 The American Phytopathological Society