A unique biotype of the Fusarium wilt pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. f.sp. vasinfectum (Atk) Sny. & Hans., found in Australia in 1993 is favored by neutral or alkaline heavy soils and does not require plant parasitic nematodes to cause disease. This makes it a threat to 4–6 million acres of USA Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) that is grown on heavy alkaline soil and currently is not affected by Fusarium wilt. In 2001–2002, several shiploads of live cottonseed were imported into California for dairy cattle feed. Thirteen F. oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum isolates and four isolates of a Fusarium spp. that resembled F. oxysporum were isolated from the imported cottonseed. The isolates, designated by an AuSeed prefix, formed four vegetative compatibility groups (VCG) all of which were incompatible with tester isolates for 18 VCGs found in the USA. Isolate AuSeed14 was vegetatively compatible with the four reference isolates of Australian biotype VCG01111. Phylogenetic analyses based on EF-1α, PHO, BT, Mat1-1, and Mat1-2 gene sequences separated the 17 seed isolates into three lineages (race A, race 3, and Fusarium spp.) with AuSeed14 clustering into race 3 lineage or race A lineage depending on the genes analyzed. Indel analysis of the EF-1α gene sequences revealed a close evolutionary relationship among AuSeed14, Australian biotype reference isolates, and the four Fusarium spp. isolates. The Australian seed isolates and the four Australian biotype reference isolates caused disease with root-dip inoculation, but not with stem-puncture inoculation. Thus, they were a vascular incompetent pathotype. In contrast, USA race A lineage isolates readily colonized vascular tissue and formed a vascular competent pathotype when introduced directly into xylem vessels. The AuSeed14 isolate was as pathogenic as the Australian biotype, and it or related isolates could cause a severe Fusarium wilt problem in USA cotton fields if they become established.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 21, 2011