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Insensitivity to the Fungicide Fosetyl-Aluminum in California Isolates of the Lettuce Downy Mildew Pathogen, Bremia lactucae

May 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  5
Pages  502 - 508

Sarah Brown , Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 ; Steven T. Koike , University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas, CA 93901 ; Oswaldo E. Ochoa , Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 ; Frank Laemmlen , University of California Cooperative Extension, Santa Maria, CA 93455 ; and Richard W. Michelmore , Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Accepted for publication 22 December 2003.

Lettuce downy mildew, caused by Bremia lactucae, is the most important foliar disease of lettuce in California. In recent years, there were apparent failures of fungicides containing fosetyl-aluminum (Aliette) to control downy mildew in commercial lettuce fields in California. Consequently, we characterized 134 isolates collected over 2 years from throughout the coastal growing areas of California for insensitivity to the fungicides fosetyl-aluminum and maneb, pathotype, and mating type. Tests using seedlings in controlled growth room conditions demonstrated the widespread occurrence of insensitivity to fosetyl-aluminum in California populations of B. lactucae. Fifty percent of the isolates assayed sporulated profusely in the presence of fosetyl-aluminum applied at rates twice the normal field dosage, and an additional 40% showed moderate sporulation at this rate. Fosetyl-aluminum-insensitive isolates were detected from all regions sampled. Insensitivity was also observed in multiple pathotypes. Insensitivity was not complete, however, because quantitative analysis of the number of lesions on older plants revealed that applications of fosetyl-aluminum could reduce the levels of disease by 50%. Therefore, while fosetyl-aluminum may have utility under low disease pressure in the field, other control measures are required to provide control under conditions favorable to the disease.

Additional keywords: Lactuca sativa, Nutri-Phite, phosphite, phosphonate

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society