Competition Between Fusarium pseudograminearum and Cochliobolus sativus Observed in Field and Greenhouse Studies
Gunnink Troth, Erin
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Among root pathogens, one of the most documented antagonisms is the suppression of Cochliobolus sativus by Fusarium (roseum) species. Unfortunately, previous studies involved single isolates of each pathogen and thus, provided no indication of the spectrum of responses that occur across the respective species. To investigate the variability in interactions between Cochliobolus sativus and Fusarium pseudograminearum, field and greenhouse trials were conducted that included monitoring of spring wheat plant health and monitoring of pathogen populations via quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The interactions between two isolates of C. sativus and four isolates of F. pseudograminearum were explored in three geographically distinct wheat fields. To complement field trials and to limit potentially confounding environmental variables that are often associated with field studies, greenhouse trials were performed that investigated the interactions among and between three isolates of C. sativus and four isolates of F. pseudograminearum. Across field locations, C. sativus isolate Cs2344 consistently and significantly reduced Fusarium populations by an average of 20.1%. Similarly, F. pseudograminearum isolate Fp2228 consistently and significantly reduced C. sativus field populations by an average of 30.9%. No interaction was detected in the field between pathogen species with regards to disease or crop losses. Greenhouse results confirmed a powerful (>99%), broadly effective suppression of Fusarium populations by isolate Cs2344. Among greenhouse trials, additional isolate–isolate interactions were observed affecting Fusarium populations. Due to lower C. sativus population sizes in greenhouse trials, significant Fusarium suppression of C. sativus was only detected in one isolate–isolate interaction. This study is the first to demonstrate suppression of Fusarium spp. by C. sativus in field and greenhouse settings. These findings also reveal a complex competitive interaction between these two pathogen species that was previously unknown.