L. K. Estep, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, 97331 and Department of Entomology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, 06511; M. Zala, Institute of Integrative Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, CH-8092, Switzerland; N. P. Anderson, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, 97331; K. E. Sackett, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, 97331; M. Flowers, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, 97331; B. A. McDonald, Institute of Integrative Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, CH-8092, Switzerland; and C. C. Mundt, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, 97331
The G143A mutation in cytb (cytochrome b gene) is associated with high levels of resistance to quinone outside inhibitor (QoI or strobilurin) fungicides that disrupt electron transport during cellular respiration (1). The G143A mutation in Zymoseptoria tritici (synonyms: Mycosphaerella graminicola and Septoria tritici), the causal agent of septoria tritici blotch of wheat (Triticum aestivum), was first reported in Europe in 2001 (1). Although Z. tritici has a global distribution (3), G143A mutants of Z. tritici have not been reported outside of Europe. We used PCR-RFLP (4) to estimate the frequencies of G143A mutants in Z. tritici populations at two locations in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon: the Hyslop Crop Science Field Research Laboratory (Hyslop Farm, HF), Benton County (44°37′52.85″ N, 123°11′55.19″ W) and research plots planted in a commercial wheat field in Washington County (45°33′58.53″ N, 123°00′11.78″ W) (North Valley Farm, NVF). Isolates originated from flag leaf collections from two cultivars (‘Bobtail’ and ‘Tubbs 06’) made in April and June of 2012 from plants in a replicated fungicide-treatment experiment, with isolates collected from both sprayed and unsprayed plots. Sixteen of the 169 isolates (9.5%) from HF possessed the G143A mutation (7 of 132 isolates from plots not receiving a QoI fungicide and 9 of 37 isolates collected from plots receiving two applications of the QoI azoxystrobin). One hundred forty six of the 175 isolates (83.4%) from NVF were G143A mutants (101 of 129 isolates from plots receiving no QoI fungicide and 45 of 46 isolates from plots receiving two applications of azoxystrobin). Results of phenotypic assays of a subset of 10 isolates from each location (5 mutants, 5 wild types from each location; 20 isolates altogether) supported a high level of resistance to azoxystrobin only in the G143A mutants. All 10 G143A mutants developed colonies after 8 days of growth on YMA plates amended with SHAM (2) and 1 ppm or 10 ppm azoxystrobin, with nine and eight G143A mutant isolates developing colonies on plates amended with 1 ppm and 10 ppm azoxystrobin, respectively. None of the wild-type isolates developed colonies on plates amended with SHAM and 1 ppm azoxystrobin, nor on plates amended with SHAM and 10 ppm azoxystrobin. All 20 isolates developed colonies on YMA plates lacking azoxystrobin, and treatments produced identical results across three replicates. These results are consistent with findings of higher levels of azoxystrobin resistance in G143A mutants compared to wild types in European populations (1). Isolates from HF and NVF differ in their previous exposure to QoI fungicides. The majority of the wheat area at HF is planted to breeding plots that are not sprayed with fungicide. Plots at NVF were planted in a commercial wheat field in a county where most wheat fields were treated with two to three applications of strobilurins each year over the past 4 years. Future monitoring for G143A mutants of Z. tritici throughout its range in North America will be necessary to assess whether strobilurin resistance will spread via wind-dispersal of ascospores or emerge de novo in treated fields. In Europe, stobilurins were first applied to wheat in 1996. G143A mutants of Z. tritici emerged de novo several times (4) and were widespread by 2007.
References: (1) B. A. Fraaje et al. Phytopathology 95:933, 2005. (2) J. A. LaMondia. Tob. Sci. 49:1, 2012. (3) E. S. Orton et al. Mol. Plant Pathol. 12:413, 2011. (4) S. F. F. Torriani et al. Pest Manag. Sci. 65:155, 2008.