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First Report of a Binucleate Rhizoctonia (AG-A) from Potato Stems Infecting Potatoes and Sugarbeet in the Pacific Northwest

December 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  12
Pages  1,657.2 - 1,657.2

T. D. Miles, Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, University of Idaho, Aberdeen 83210; J. W. Woodhall, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK; and L. A. Miles and P. S. Wharton, Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, University of Idaho, Aberdeen 83210

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Accepted for publication 13 May 2013.

Rhizoctonia solani causes economically important diseases on potatoes and sugarbeet throughout the world (2). R. solani is a species complex of 13 anastomosis groups (AGs) of which R. solani AG3-PT is most commonly associated with potato and AG2-2 and AG4 with sugarbeet. However, several AGs, including AG2-2 and AG4, have been recorded causing potato diseases (2,3). In summer 2012, plants in potato fields in Idaho were sampled for R. solani. Isolations were attempted from symptomatic plants. DNA extracted from the resulting pure Rhizoctonia cultures was screened using a real-time PCR assay for AG3-PT (3). For the isolates that tested negative for AG3-PT, AG was determined by amplifying and sequencing the rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region using the primers ITS5 (5′-GGAAGTAAAAGTCGTAACAAGG-3′) and ITS4 (5′-TCCTCCGCTTATTGATATGC-3′). The resulting sequences of two isolates (isolates 204 and 206, GenBank Accession No. KC782951) shared 99% identity with other AG-A isolates (AY927358 and AY927356). Koch's postulates were confirmed for isolate 206 by placing five 10-mm plugs, from 10-day-old potato dextrose agar (PDA) cultures, onto the surface of a soil-less potting mix (composed of peat moss, perlite, and sand) of 1-liter pots, where non-inoculated PDA plugs served as a control. Each pot contained a ‘Rosara’ seed tuber or three ungerminated (BETASEED – BTS 27RR10) sugarbeet seeds (n = 5). Pots were incubated in a glasshouse between 18 and 22°C for 1 month and then assessed for disease. For potatoes, a pigmented necrosis was observed at the soil interface in 88% of the stems and plants were stunted relative to the non-inoculated controls. A significant reduction in root growth was observed in 60% of the germinated sugarbeet plants. Control plants of both potatoes and beets were asymptomatic. For reisolation, 1-cm sections were taken from each potato stem and germinated beet plant, surface sterilized, and placed on alkaline water agar. The reisolated fungi were identified using morphology and a subset was confirmed by sequencing. Isolate 206 was successfully recovered from 84% of the potato stems and from 20% of the sugarbeet seedlings. In a similar experiment, 2-month-old potato and sugarbeet plants were inoculated using 50 g of autoclaved barley grains (inoculated with isolate 206) per 1-liter pot. Between 40 and 60% of inoculated plants appeared stunted in both cases. Pigmented necrosis was observed at the soil interface on 45% of the potato stems and reduced root growth was observed in the 50% of the sugarbeet plants. Control plants were asymptomatic. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the binucleate AG-A causing disease in Idaho on potato stems. BNR species have previously been isolated from potato (4) and sugarbeet plants (1). The binucleate Rhizoctonia AG-A caused disease on potato stems and sugarbeet roots and was readily reisolated. Since sugarbeet is commonly grown in rotation with potato in Idaho, such a rotation could increase the risk of soilborne infection to either crop by AG-A. It is known that AGs can differ in fungicide sensitivity (2), and thus a knowledge of which AGs may be present is important when considering disease management strategies.

References: (1) C. A. Strausbaugh et al. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 33:210, 2011. (2) L. Tsror. Biology, Epidemiology and Management of Rhizoctonia solani on Potato 158:649, 2010. (3) J. Woodhall et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 136:273, 2013. (4) Y. G. Yang and X. H. Wu. Plant Dis. 97:1246, 2013.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society