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Pythium Pringsh. 1858
The genus Pythium contains around 80 species of plant pathogenic and soil-borne oomycetes, including various species which cause destructive seedling diseases known as damping-off and characterized by a sudden collapse of the plants. Several pathogen species may be associated with one disease. In general, Pythium species are less host specific compared to those of the closely related genus Phytophthora.
The asexual sporangia are elongated or rounded. They release reniform zoospores or germinate directly. During the sexual reproduction, oogonia develop at the end of hyphae. The antheridium which fertilizes an oogonium can originate from the same hypha or from a different one. After attachment and fertilization the oogonium develops into a thick-walled, spherical resting spore.
The taxonomy of the genus Pythium has been revised in 2010 with several important plant pathogens now being classified under different genera, in particular see the genera:
• Globisporangium Uzuhashi, Tojo & Kakish
• Phytopythium Abad, de Cock, Bala, Robideau, A.M. Lodhi & Lévesque
Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: