N. C. Gudmestad and
S. Arabiat, Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108;
J. S. Miller, Miller Research, 426 East 200 North, Rupert, ID 83350; and
J. S. Pasche, Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108
Early blight, caused by Alternaria solani, is an important chronic foliar disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum) present every growing season in the Midwestern United States. Most currently grown potato cultivars lack resistance to early blight; therefore, foliar fungicides are relied upon for disease management. Foliar fungicides with high efficacy against the pathogen, such as boscalid, frequently are used under high disease pressure situations, such as potatoes grown under overhead irrigation. Boscalid is a member of the succinate dehydrogenase inhibiting (SDHI) fungicide group and was registered for use on potato in 2005. Baseline sensitivity of A. solani to the SDHI fungicides boscalid, penthiopyrad, and fluopyram using a spore germination assay demonstrated similar intrinsic activity against A. solani with mean EC50 values of 0.33, 0.38, and 0.31 μg/ml, respectively. However, isolates varied in their sensitivity to each of these fungicides, resulting in very low correlations (r) among isolate sensitivity to each fungicide. Resistance to boscalid in A. solani was detected in the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Idaho, Wisconsin, and Florida from early blight samples collected in 2010 and 2011. Two phenotypes of boscalid resistance were detected. Approximately 80% of all A. solani assayed were found to have some level of resistance to boscalid with about 5 and 75% of the population moderately resistant (5 to 20 μg/ml) and highly resistant (>20 μg/ml), respectively, to the fungicide. Nearly 99% of all boscalid resistant isolates possessed the F129L mutation in the cytrochrome b gene, indicating that an A. solani population with dual fungicide resistance predominates in the states surveyed. However, A. solani isolates resistant to boscalid remained sensitive to fluopyram, and a large proportion of moderately resistant and resistant isolates were sensitive to penthiopyrad. Disease control data from in vivo trials demonstrated a significant loss of fungicide efficacy when boscalid and fluxapyroxad were used to control moderately and highly resistant isolates of A. solani relative to the control these fungicides provided wild-type isolates. Fluopyram, however, controlled boscalid resistant isolates as well as it controlled wild-type isolates of A. solani. These data will assist potato growers in regions where boscalid resistance is prevalent by assisting them in avoiding fungicides that do not effectively control early blight and in selecting SDHI fungicide molecules that remain efficacious.