Plant Pathology (2015) 64, 1103-1109

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D.H. Lee, J. Roux, B.D. Wingfield and M.J. Wingfield (2015)
Variation in growth rates and aggressiveness of naturally occurring self-fertile and self-sterile isolates of the wilt pathogen Ceratocystis albifundus
Plant Pathology 64 (5), 1103-1109
Abstract: Ceratocystis albifundus is the most important fungal pathogen of black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) grown in plantations in southern and eastern Africa. It is a homothallic fungus but also undergoes unidirectional mating type switching. As a result, the ascospore progeny can be either self-fertile or self-sterile. The only apparent difference between these mating types is the deletion of the MAT1-2-1 gene in self-sterile isolates. There is some evidence suggesting that self-sterile isolates grow more slowly than self-fertile isolates, but this has not been tested rigorously. The aim of this study was to determine whether self-sterile isolates are less fit by examining growth rate, relative germination rate and pathogenicity. Five self-sterile isolates were generated from each of five self-fertile isolates of C. albifundus and these 30 isolates were compared. The results showed that the self-sterile isolates grew consistently slower and were less pathogenic than the self-fertile isolates. The germination ratio of self-fertile to self-sterile isolates from single ascospores collected from the ascomata of five self-fertile isolates was on average 7:3. This could be a consequence of the self-sterile isolates having a lower germination rate. This observation, and the lower growth and pathogenicity levels, suggests that self-sterile isolates are not likely to compete effectively in nature, raising intriguing questions regarding their role and value to C. albifundus and other fungi having a similar mating system.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Michael J. Wingfield, Jolanda Roux, Brenda D. Wingfield

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Ceratocystis albifundus Acacia (crop)