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Pathogenicity, Virulence, and Vegetative Compatibility Grouping of Verticillium Isolates from Spinach Seed

November 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  11
Pages  1,457 - 1,469

Angela M. Iglesias-Garcia, Maria I. Villarroel-Zeballos, and Chunda Feng, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701; Lindsey J. du Toit, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University Mount Vernon NWREC, Mount Vernon 98273; and James C. Correll, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Accepted for publication 24 April 2013.

In 2005, Verticillium dahliae was first reported to be pathogenic to spinach seed crops in the Pacific Northwest, with symptoms only developing after initiation of the reproductive stage of plant growth, and to be prevalent on commercial spinach seed lots produced in Denmark, The Netherlands, and the United States. In this study, the genetic diversity, pathogenicity, and virulence were examined for a collection of isolates of Verticillium spp. from spinach as well as other hosts (alfalfa, cotton, lettuce, mint, peppermint, potato, radish, and tomato) from various countries and from different vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs). Of a total of 210 isolates of V. dahliae obtained from spinach seed produced in Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, or the United States, 128 were assigned to VCG 4B (89% of 91 U.S. isolates, 86% of 42 isolates from the Netherlands, 19% of 43 Denmark isolates, and 8% of 13 New Zealand isolates), 65 to VCG 2B (92% of the New Zealand isolates, 79% of the Denmark isolates, 14% of the Netherlands isolates, and 9% of the U.S. isolates), and 3 to VCG 2A (2% of each of the Denmark and U.S. isolates, and 0% of the Netherlands and New Zealand isolates); 14 isolates could not be assigned to a VCG. Although little variation in the sequence of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of ribosomal DNA was observed among isolates within each Verticillium sp., the ITS region readily differentiated isolates of the species V. dahliae, V. tricorpus, and Gibellulopsis nigrescens (formerly V. nigrescens) obtained from spinach seed. Greenhouse pathogenicity assays on spinach, cotton, lettuce, and tomato plants using isolates of V. dahliae (n = 29 to 34 isolates), V. tricorpus (n = 3), G. nigrescens (n = 2), and V. albo-atrum (n = 1) originally obtained from these hosts as well as from alfalfa, mint, peppermint, potato, and radish, revealed a wide range in virulence among the isolates. Isolates of V. tricorpus and G. nigrescens recovered from spinach seed and an isolate of V. albo-atrum from alfalfa were not pathogenic on spinach. In addition, isolates of V. dahliae from mint and peppermint were not pathogenic or only weakly virulent on the hosts evaluated. Although there was a wide range in virulence among the isolates of V. dahliae tested, all of the V. dahliae isolates caused Verticillium wilt symptoms on spinach, lettuce, tomato, and cotton. None of the isolates of V. dahliae showed host specificity. These results indicate that Verticillium and related species associated with spinach seed display substantial variability in virulence and pathogenicity to spinach and other plants but the V. dahliae isolates were restricted to three VCGs.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society