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Evaluation of Endemic Foliar Fungi for Potential Biological Control of Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense): Screening and Host Range Tests. Mou- Yen Chiang, Graduate Student, Department of Botany, USDA-ARS, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7612. C. G. Van Dyke, and K. J. Leonard. Associate Professor, Department of Botany, and Plant Pathologist, USDA-ARS, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7612. Plant Dis. 73:459-464. Accepted for publication 7 December 1988. Copyright 1989 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-73-0459.

Diseased johnsongrass leaves were collected during 19851986 in North Carolina in a search for leaf-infecting fungi as potential biocontrol agents of johnsongrass. Seven pathogenic fungi were isolated and tested. After preliminary evaluation of virulence, dew requirements, and sporulation capacity, Exserohilum turcicum, Colletotrichum graminicola, and Gloeocercospora sorghi were selected for second-stage tests. Multiple isolates of these three fungi were compared in separate tests; isolates of each fungus differed in their virulence and host specificity. Data on E. turcicum isolates suggests physiologic specialization with regard to virulence to sorghum hybrids and johnsongrass from different seed collections. The most virulent isolate, with the best or average specificity to johnsongrass, was selected for each fungus for subsequent broad-spectrum host range tests. Data on leaf sporulation from inoculated plants indicate that G. sorghi was more host-specific than the other two fungi; it was compatible only with Sorghum spp., whereas E. turcicum and C. graminicola were compatible with Sorghum and corn. Moderate to high levels of leaf damage were observed in most compatible reactions. Dicotyledonous species were immune to all three fungi. Among the graminaceous plants, oats, wheat, and barley were undamaged or the least damaged, whereas all Sorghum spp. (sorghum, johnsongrass, sudangrass, and shattercane) were severely injured by inoculation with high spore concentrations suitable for mycoherbicide application. Overall results suggest that the three tested fungi are too virulent to be used as mycoherbicides in corn and sorghum but may be safe in dicotyledonous crops.