Genotypic characterization and fungicide resistance monitoring for Virginia populations of Parastagonospora nodorum in wheat

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Virginia Tech

Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB), is a major foliar disease of wheat in the mid-Atlantic U.S., is caused by the necrotrophic fungus Parastagonospora nodorum. SNB is managed using cultural practices, resistant varieties, and foliar fungicides. There are increasing trends of severity and incidence of SNB in Virginia and the surrounding mid-Atlantic region, but it is not known if changes in the pathogen population are contributing to this trend. The overall goal of this research was to 1) determine the occurrence of quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) resistance in Virginia populations of P. nodorum infecting wheat, 2) quantify the distribution of G143A mutations conferring fungicide resistance in Virginia populations of P. nodorum, and 3) characterize genetic diversity of P. nodorum populations in Virginia and assess influences of cultivars and environments on population structure and SNB severity. For Objective 1, QoI resistant isolates of P. nodorum were identified from Virginia wheat fields, and this was the first report of QoI resistant P. nodorum in the United States. The G143A substitution in the cytochrome b gene of P. nodorum was associated with reduced QoI sensitivity, and in Objective 2, a state-wide, two-year survey of P. nodorum populations in Virginia determined that the G143A mutation was widespread in the state and among sampled fields the frequency ranged from 5-32% (mean = 19%). For Objective 3, P. nodorum was isolated from five different wheat cultivars across seven locations over two years in Virginia. SNB severity varied by cultivar but greater differences in disease severity were observed among locations and years suggesting environment plays an important role in SNB development. Among the necrotrophic effector (NE) genes examined, SnTox1 was predominant followed by SnTox3, and frequencies of NE genes did not vary by cultivar or location. P. nodorum populations in Virginia had high genetic diversity, but there was no genetic subdivision among locations or wheat cultivars from which individuals were isolated. Results also indicated that the P. nodorum population in Virginia undergoes a mixed mode of reproduction, but sexual reproduction made the greatest contribution to population structure. Overall, this work provides insights into the population biology of P. nodorum in Virginia and information on variability in fungicide sensitivity and cultivar susceptibility to SNB that has implications for the current and future efficacy of fungicides and host resistance for management of SNB.

Stagonospora nodorum blotch, Parastagonospora nodorum, quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) resistance, Triticum aestivum, genetic diversity, population structure, necrotrophic effector genes, mating type