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Open Access Reappraisal of the genus Alternariaster (Dothideomycetes)

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Alternariaster was erected in 2007 to accommodate Alternaria helianthi, a fungal species known to cause leaf spots on Helianthus annuus (sunflower). It was segregated from Alternaria based on conidial morphology. Recently an unknown alternaria-like dematiaceous fungus was found associated with leaf spots on Bidens sulphurea (yellow cosmos) in Brazil. Based on a multi-gene phylogeny of parts of the ITS and LSU genes, this fungus was placed within the Leptosphaeriaceae with Alternariaster helianthi as its closest neighbour. Additional genes sequenced, RPB2 and GAPDH, confirmed this close relationship. The fungus on B. sulphurea has smaller conidia, 50–97.5 × 12.5–20 μm, compared to Al. helianthi, 80–160 × 18–30 μm, and lacks oblique or transverse septa which can be present in Al. helianthi. Pathogenicity studies on 18 plant species belonging to the Compositae showed that the B. sulphurea fungus only infected B. sulphurea, whereas Al. helianthi infected H. annuus and Galinsoga quadriradiata, a yet unreported host of Al. helianthi. The fungus causing disease on B. sulphurea is hence closely related but phylogenetically, morphologically and pathologically distinct from Al. helianthi, and therefore newly described as Alternariaster bidentis. The collection of a second species in the genus Alternariaster and the multigene phylogenetic analysis of these two species, confirmed Alternariaster to be a well-delimited genus in the Leptosphaeriaceae rather than the Pleosporaceae, to which Alternaria belongs.

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Keywords: ALTERNARIA; FUNGAL PATHOGENS; HOST-RANGE; MULTI-GENE PHYLOGENY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2013

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  • Persoonia aims to publish papers dealing with molecular phylogeny and evolution of fungi. A further aim is to promote fungal taxonomy by employing a polythetic approach to clarify the true phylogeny and relationships within the kingdom Fungi. The journal publishes high-quality papers elucidating known and novel fungal taxa at the DNA level, and also strives to present novel insights into evolutionary processes and relationships. Papers to be considered include research articles and reviews.

    Papers are published using a Fast Track system. This implies that the papers are immediately published online and freely available through the internet via this website. Volumes appear twice a year (June and December). From Volume 36 onwards (2016) hard copy volumes will only be made available through printing-on-demand. The issues can be ordered separately through the Publication Division of Naturalis Biodiversity Center; e-mail: [email protected]

    Persoonia is a journal published jointly by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.
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