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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 834: III International Late Blight Conference

THE ROLE OF OOSPORES IN THE EPIDEMIOLOGY OF POTATO LATE BLIGHT

Authors:   B. Andersson, A.-K. Widmark, J.E. Yuen, B. Nielsen, S. Ravnskov, G.J.T. Kessel, A. Evenhuis, L.J. Turkensteen, J.G. Hansen, A. Lehtinen, A. Hermansen, M.-B. Brurberg, B. Nordskog
Keywords:   Phytophthora infestans, potato late blight, Solanum tuberosum, oospores, epidemiology
Abstract:
Potato late blight (Phytophthora infestans) is a plant disease feared globally by farmers and the potato industry. P. infestans is a heterothallic oomycete with two mating types. Until recently the pathogen was limited to surviving between seasons as living mycelia in its host plant in most parts of the world. This was due to the fact that populations of P. infestans consisted of only one mating type (A1) in all parts of the world except Mexico, the putative centre of origin of the pathogen. Migration of new genotypes from Mexico, including genotypes of the second mating type (A2) has resulted in that now both mating types can be found worldwide. The formation of oospores is only possible if both mating types coexist. Oospores will give the pathogen the ability of surviving for extended periods of time outside its host, for example in the soil. There are reports of oospore formation under field conditions from many parts of the world. Also, in some places oospores are considered as a new, additional inoculum source and as a consequence the onset of late blight epidemics have become earlier. Oospores are formed through sexual recombination. If they act as a source of inoculum, this will increase the genotypic variation in populations of P. infestans leading to an enhanced adaptability of the pathogen. As a consequence, an earlier start of epidemics caused by oospores in the soil and a more aggressive behaviour of the pathogen due to new sexually formed genotypes could make potato late blight even more difficult to control in the future.
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