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Sensitivity of Alternaria alternata from Citrus to Boscalid and Polymorphism in Iron-Sulfur and in Anchored Membrane Subunits of Succinate Dehydrogenase

February 2015 , Volume 99 , Number  2
Pages  231 - 239

Byron Vega and Megan M. Dewdney, Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Lake Alfred 33850

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Accepted for publication 28 July 2014.

Boscalid, a succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI), was registered in 2011 to control Alternaria brown spot (ABS) of citrus, caused by Alternaria alternata. In this study, the effect of boscalid on mycelial growth, conidial germination, and resazurin reduction was established in a subset of 16 sensitive isolates using three different media. Conidial germination and mycelial growth inhibition were not suppressed even at higher concentrations of boscalid, although effective concentration to inhibit 50% growth (EC50) values were established with each method. Resazurin reduction produced the lowest EC50 values and was selected for further sensitivity tests. In total, 419 isolates, never exposed to boscalid and collected from Florida tangerine orchards between 1996 to 2012, were tested for boscalid sensitivity. The sensitivity distribution was a unimodal curve with a mean EC50 value of 0.60 μg/ml and a range of 0.07 to 5.84 μg/ml. The molecular characterization of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) genes were also determined in a subset of 15 isolates, exhibiting great variability in boscalid sensitivity, by cloning and sequencing the sdhB, sdhC, and sdhD genes. Sequence comparisons of the SDH complex revealed the presence of mutations in 14 of 15 isolates. In total, 21 mutations were identified. Double and multiple mutations were observed in SDHC and SDHD, respectively. In SDHB, 4 mutations were observed while, in SDHC and SDHD, 5 and 12 mutations were detected, respectively. No mutations were found in the highly conserved histidine residues at positions 277 in SDHB, 134 in SDHC, and 133 in SDHD, typically observed in SDHI-resistant isolates. Our findings suggest that A. alternata populations from Florida are sensitive to boscalid and it could be used in ABS spray programs. Boscalid resistance is currently not a problem, although further monitoring for resistance is advisable.

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