Symptom Development in Response to Combined Infection of In Vitro-grown Lilium longiflorum with Pratylenchus penetrans and Soilborne Fungi Collected from Diseased Roots of Field-grown Lilies

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Eight fungal isolates (ELRF 1 to 8) were recovered from necrotic roots of Easter lilies, Lilium longiflorum cv. Nellie White, grown in a field in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The eight fungal isolates were identified by sequencing and molecular phylogenetic analyses based on their ITS rDNA region. Five isolates were identified as Fusarium oxysporum, two as F. tricinctum, and one as Rhizoctonia sp. AG-I. This constitutes the first report of Rhizoctonia sp. AG-I infecting lilies worldwide and the first report of F. tricinctum infecting lilies in the United States. To study and validate their pathogenicity, pure cultures of each isolate were used to infect the roots of Easter lily plants growing in vitro. In addition, Easter lily plants growing in vitro were infected either with or without Pratylenchus penetrans, the root lesion nematode, prior to placing a culture plug of fungus 1 cm from a lily root. Pratylenchus penetrans is a nematode species commonly found in the sampled fields. The presence of both nematode and Rhizoctonia sp. AG-I isolate ELRF 3 in infected lilies was evaluated by molecular analyses, confirming the infection of roots 3 days after inoculation, prior to development of disease symptoms. Necrosis and root rot developed more rapidly with all eight fungal isolates when there had been prior infection with P. penetrans, the major nematode parasitizing Easter lily roots in the field in Oregon.