Late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary, is a destructive disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum) and tomato (S. lycopersicum) in the United States. Prior to 2007, the US-8 clonal lineage was the predominant genotype in the United States (4). Since 2007, a significant genetic change in the population of P. infestans occurred in the eastern United States with the appearance of new isolates with unique genotypes and epidemiological characteristics (3). These new genotypes US-22, US-23, and US-24 are sensitive to metalaxyl and represent mating types A2, A1, and A1, respectively (1,2). Prior to 2012, only US-8 had been documented in Idaho (5). In 2013, late blight was discovered in late August on potato crops (cv. Russet Norkotah) in Bingham and Madison counties, ID. Infected foliage (four samples from Bingham County and five from Madison) was sent to Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin for confirmation of P. infestans and characterization of the isolates. Five sections from the leading edge of lesions were excised with a sterilized scalpel and placed on potato tuber slices (‘Dark Red Norkotah’). Pathogen sporulation on the excised lesions was enhanced by incubation in plastic boxes lined with moistened paper towels for 5 days at 18°C in the dark. The sporulating lesions were transferred onto pea agar medium (160 g peas, 5 g sucrose, 15 g agar, 700 ml distilled water) amended with 50 mg/ml vancomycin. Ten pure cultures were obtained for each of 4 isolates per county by hyphal tipping. Cellulose acetate electrophoresis was conducted to determine Gpi allozyme genotype of the 4 isolates (4). The allozyme banding patterns were 100/100 at the Gpi locus, consistent with previously reported analyses of the US-23 genotype (1,2). Genomic DNA was extracted from 10 pure cultures using the DNeasy Plant Mini Kit (Qiagen, Germantown, MD), and SSR analyses were performed. Microsatellite markers Pi02, Pi4B, Pi63, PiG11, and D13 were used in SSR analyses. Pi02, Pi4B, and Pi63 had alleles of 162/164, 213/217, and 270/279 bp in size, respectively which is consistent with the reference US-23 genotype (1). However, heterozygosity was detected at locus D13 in the Idaho genotype with allele size of 134/210 bp and an additional allele of 140/155/176 bp at locus PiG11. This is different from the standard US-23 genotype (homozygous alleles 134/134 at locus D13 and two alleles 140/155 at locus PiG11). These allele changes indicate the isolates may be variants of US-23 isolates as all other phenotypic characteristics were similar to those of reference US-23 isolates. The Idaho genotypes were sensitive to metalaxyl both in vitro on rye A agar medium amended with metalaxyl at <0.1 ppm, and in vivo on Ridomil treated foliage tests at <0.1 ppm (1,2). Mating type assays confirmed the pathogen to be the A1 mating type. In the 2009 and 2010 late blight epidemics in the eastern United States, US-23 was the predominant genotype, but to our knowledge this genotype has never been reported previously in Idaho. Thus, this is the first known report of P. infestans genotype US-23 causing late blight on potato in Idaho, indicating a change in the population of P. infestans. In Idaho, the source of this genotype remains unknown, although infected tomatoes have been implicated in the widespread dissemination of this genotype of P. infestans in the eastern United States.
References: (1) G. Danies et al. Plant Dis. 97:873, 2013. (2) C. Hu et al. Plant Dis. 96:1323, 2012. (3) K. Deahl. (Abstr.) Phytopathology 100:S161, 2010. (4) S. B. Goodwin et al. Plant Dis. 79:1181, 1995. (5) USAblight. Recent US Genotypes. Online: www.usablight.org/node/52, retrieved 3 January 2014.