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Aggressiveness of Cephalosporium maydis causing late wilt of maize in Spain

AuthorsGarcía-Carneros, Ana B. ; Girón Moreno, Ignacio F. ; Molinero-Ruiz, Leire
Cephalosporium maydis
Genetic control
Soilborne pathogens
Vascular diseases
Zea mays
Issue Date2012
PublisherUniversity of Ghent
CitationCommunications in agricultural and applied biological sciences 77(3): 173-179 (2012)
AbstractLate wilt of maize, caused by the vascular and soilborne pathogen Cephalosporium maydis, was identified in the Iberian Peninsula in 2008. During the last years the incidence and economical impact of the disease has importantly increased both in Portugal and Spain. Varieties of maize displaying tolerance to the pathogen are available, but the effectiveness can be dependent on the virulence of the fungus (i.e. ability to cause disease on a specific genotype). On the other hand, strains of crop pathogens from different geographic origins can differ with regard to the degree of disease caused on a specific genotype (i.e. aggressiveness). Our working hypothesis was that isolates of C. maydis from different maize growing areas may differ in aggressiveness towards maize plants. Seven fungal strains were isolated in 2009 from diseased plants collected in the most important maize growing regions of Spain and used to inoculate two susceptible maize varieties grown in shadehouse from March to July 2010. The experimental unit consisted of two 4-day-old seedlings planted in an 8-liter pot filled with sand/silt previously infested with 200 g of wheat grains colonized by the fungi. Non colonized wheat grains were used for the control treatments. Six replications (pots) were established for each variety/isolate combination according to a complete randomized 2 × 8 factorial design. The percentage of necrotic and dry aboveground tissues was recorded 14 weeks after inoculation and thereafter weekly until physiological senescence of the control plants. At the end of the experiment, weights of roots and aboveground parts of the plants were recorded. Initial occurrence of symptoms in the plants was significantly dependent on the isolate of C. maydis and on the maize variety. However, final severity of aboveground symptoms (leaf necroses and drying up) was only dependent on the fungal isolate. All the isolates significantly reduced the root weight of both varieties of maize. The highest root weight reductions were also associated to a significant low weight of aboveground parts. Considering all the symptoms analyzed and their progression in the maize plants, our results reveal that a diversity of aggressiveness exists among isolates of C. maydis. The need for a characterization of maize genotypes by their reaction against highly aggressive isolates of the fungus in the Iberian Peninsula is suggested. This study is a first step towards a recommendation of crop varieties that are tolerant to C. maydis in different areas of the Iberian Peninsula. Future research aims at studying the relationship between aggressiveness levels, molecular characteristics and geographical origin whithin C. maydis.
Identifiersissn: 1379-1176
Appears in Collections:(IAS) Artículos
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