J. W. Woodhall, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK;
A. R. Belcher, Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, University of Idaho, Aberdeen, ID, 83210;
J. C. Peters, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK;
W. W. Kirk, Department of Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824; and
P. S. Wharton, Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, University of Idaho, Aberdeen 83210
Rhizoctonia solani is an important pathogen of potato (Solanum tuberosum) causing qualitative and quantitative losses. It has been associated with black scurf and stem canker. Isolates of the fungus are assigned to one of 13 known anastomosis groups (AGs), of which AG3 is most commonly associated with potato disease (2,4). In August 2011, diseased potato plants originating from Rupert, ID (cv. Western Russet) and Three Rivers, MI (cv. Russet Norkotah) were received for diagnosis. Both samples displayed stem and stolon lesions typically associated with Rhizoctonia stem canker. The presence of R. solani was confirmed through isolation as previously described (4) and the Idaho and Michigan isolates were designated J11 and J8, respectively. AG was determined by sequencing the rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region using primers ITS5 and ITS4 (3). The resulting sequences of the rDNA ITS region of isolates J8 and J11 (GenBank Accession Nos. HE608839 and HE608840, respectively) were between 97 and 100% identical to that of other AG2-2IIIB isolates present in sequence databases (GenBank Accession Nos. FJ492075 and FJ492170, respectively). Koch's postulates were confirmed for each isolate by carrying out the following protocol. Each isolate was cultured on potato dextrose agar for 14 days. Five 10-mm agar plugs were then placed on top of seed tubers (cv. Maris Piper) in 1-liter pots containing John Innes Number 3 compost (John Innes Manufacturers Association, Reading, UK). Pots were held in a controlled environment room at 18°C with 50% relative humidity and watered as required. After 21 days, plants were removed and assessed for disease. Typical Rhizoctonia stem lesions were observed and R. solani was successfully reisolated from symptomatic material. To our knowledge, this is the first report of AG2-2IIIB causing disease on potatoes in the United States. In the United States, AGs 2-1, 3, 4, 5, and 9 have all been previously implicated in Rhizoctonia potato disease (2). AG2-2IIIB should now also be considered a potato pathogen in the United States. Knowledge of which AG is present is invaluable when considering a disease management strategy. AG2-2IIIB is a causal agent of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) root rot in Idaho (1). Sugar beet is commonly grown in crop rotation with potato and such a rotation could increase the risk of soilborne infection to either crop by AG2-2IIIB.
References: (1) C. A. Strausbaugh et al. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 33:210, 2011. (2) L. Tsror. J. Phytopatol. 158:649, 2010. (3) T. J. White et al. Page 315 in: PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. M. A. Innis et al., eds. Academic Press, Inc., New York, 1990. (4) J. W.Woodhall et al. Plant Pathol. 56:286, 2007.