Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva 14456.
Quantitative (partial) and qualitative (complete) resistance responses to quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) fungicides have been documented for the apple scab pathogen Venturia inaequalis. Resistance monitoring efforts have traditionally focused on the detection of qualitative resistance based on a single point mutation, G143A, within the cytochrome b (cyt b) gene. In order to better understand the role of heteroplasmy of the cyt b gene in the QoI resistance response for isolates and populations of V. inaequalis, an allele-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction was developed to quantify the relative abundance of the A143 (resistant) allele in 45 isolates of V. inaequalis with differing in vitro resistance responses to the QoI fungicide trifloxystrobin. Although a high relative abundance of the A143 allele (>62%) was associated with isolates with high resistance responses (50 to 100% relative growth on trifloxystrobin-amended medium), heteroplasmy of the cyt b gene was not the primary factor involved in isolates with moderate resistance responses (29 to 49% relative growth). The relative abundance of the A143 allele in isolates with moderate resistance to trifloxystrobin rarely exceeded 8%, suggesting that other resistance mechanisms are involved in moderate resistance and, therefore, that the Qol resistance response is polygenic. In research orchards where QoI fungicides failed to control apple scab (practical resistance), field trials were conducted to demonstrate the link between practical resistance and the abundance of the A143 allele. Relative abundance of the A143 allele in these orchard populations exceeded 20% in 2011 and 2012. Similarly, of the eight additional commercial orchards screened in 2011, the relative abundance of the A143 allele always exceeded 20% in those with QoI practical resistance. Although heteroplasmy of the cyt b gene did not entirely explain the response of isolates with moderate resistance to QoIs, the relative abundance of A143 in orchard populations of V. inaequalis helps to explain the point of emergence for practical resistance to trifloxystrobin across several orchard populations with differing production histories.