I. M. Small,
R. Childers, and
W. E. Fry, Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease, has been reported in the United States and Canada since the mid-nineteenth century. Due to the lack of or very limited sexual reproduction, the populations of P. infestans in the United States are primarily reproducing asexually and, thus, show a simple genetic structure. The emergence of new clonal lineages of P. infestans (US-22, US-23, and US-24) responsible for the late blight epidemics in the northeastern region of the United States in the summers of 2009 and 2010 stimulated an investigation into phenotypic traits associated with these genotypes. Mating type, differences in sensitivity to mefenoxam, differences in pathogenicity on potato and tomato, and differences in rate of germination were studied for clonal lineages US-8, US-22, US-23, and US-24. Both A1 and A2 mating types were detected. Lineages US-22, US-23, and US-24 were generally sensitive to mefenoxam while US-8 was resistant. US-8 and US-24 were primarily pathogenic on potato while US-22 and US-23 were pathogenic on both potato and tomato. Indirect germination was favored at lower temperatures (5 and 10°C) whereas direct germination, though uncommon, was favored at higher temperatures (20 and 25°C). Sporangia of US-24 released zoospores more rapidly than did sporangia of US-22 and US-23. The association of characteristic phenotypic traits with genotype enables the prediction of phenotypic traits from rapid genotypic analyses for improved disease management.