Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011.
Isolates in the Fusarium oxysporum species complex (FOSC) from soybean range from nonpathogenic to aggressive pathogens causing seedling damping-off, wilt, and root rot. The objective of this research was to characterize the genotype and phenotype of isolates within the FOSC recovered predominantly from soybean roots and seedlings. Sequence analyses of the translation elongation factor (tef1α) gene and the mitochondrial small subunit (mtSSU), polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis of the intergenic spacer (IGS) region, and identification of the mating type loci were conducted for 170 isolates. Vegetative compatibility (VC) tests were conducted for 114 isolates. Isolate aggressiveness was tested using a rolled towel assay for 159 isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of the tef1α and mtSSU and PCR-RFLP analysis of the IGS region separated the FOSC isolates into five clades, including F. commune. Both mating type loci, MAT1-1 or MAT1-2, were present in isolates from all clades. The VC tests were not informative, because most VC groups consisted of a single isolate. Isolate aggressiveness varied within and among clades; isolates in clade 2 were significantly less aggressive (P < 0.0001) when compared with isolates from the other clades and F. commune. The results from this study demonstrate the high levels of genotypic and phenotypic diversity within the FOSC from soybean but further work is needed to identify characteristics associated with pathogenic capabilities.