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Genus-specific host range of Phomopsis amaranthicola (Sphaeropsidales), a bioherbicide agent for Amaranthus spp.Published online 13 October 2005

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Phomopsis amaranthicola, a newly described species discovered in Florida, is under development as a biological control agent for weeds belonging to the genus Amaranthus . Host-range testing was performed on the fungus, using the centrifugal phylogenetic scheme, with Amaranthus hybridus as the focal plant. Forty-five accessions of 21 species in the genus Amaranthus were tested for susceptibility to infection by this fungus. Fifty-six plant species outside the genus Amaranthus were also tested. The latter included crops in which the fungus might be used as a bioherbicide, members of genera that are closely related to Amaranthus , and selections of species that have been reported as hosts of other species of the genera Phomopsis or Diaporthe . Phomopsis amaranthicola did not infect any of the plants from outside the genus Amaranthus but was highly pathogenic to several species in the genus Amaranthus . All Amaranthus species tested were infected to varying degrees by P . amaranthicola ; the resulting mortality levels were also variable. Thus, P . amaranthicola appears to be host-specific to the members of the genus Amaranthus . The generic level of specificity of this pathogen renders it not only a safe bioherbicide agent but also one that could be used against several weedy Amaranthus species.
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Keywords: Amaranthus; Phomopsis amaranthicola; bioherbicide; pigweed

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, ARS, USDA, Fort Pierce, FL, USA 2: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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