, Volume 121, Issue 4, pp 499-512
Date: 05 Mar 2008

Genetic variation among Fusarium isolates from onion, and resistance to Fusarium basal rot in related Allium species

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The aim of this research was to study levels of resistance to Fusarium basal rot in onion cultivars and related Allium species, by using genetically different Fusarium isolates. In order to select genetically different isolates for disease testing, a collection of 61 Fusarium isolates, 43 of them from onion (Allium cepa), was analysed using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. Onion isolates were collected in The Netherlands (15 isolates) and Uruguay (9 isolates), and received from other countries and fungal collections (19 isolates). From these isolates, 29 were identified as F. oxysporum, 10 as F. proliferatum, whereas the remaining four isolates belonged to F. avenaceum and F. culmorum. The taxonomic status of the species was confirmed by morphological examination, by DNA sequencing of the elongation factor 1-α gene, and by the use of species-specific primers for Fusarium oxysporum, F. proliferatum, and F. culmorum. Within F. oxysporum, isolates clustered in two clades suggesting different origins of F. oxysporum forms pathogenic to onion. These clades were present in each sampled region. Onion and six related Allium species were screened for resistance to Fusarium basal rot using one F. oxysporum isolate from each clade, and one F. proliferatum isolate. High levels of resistance to each isolate were found in Allium fistulosum and A. schoenoprasum accessions, whereas A. pskemense, A. roylei and A. galanthum showed intermediate levels of resistance. Among five A. cepa cultivars, ‘Rossa Savonese’ was also intermediately resistant. Regarding the current feasibility for introgression, A. fistulosum, A. roylei and A. galanthum were identified as potential sources for the transfer of resistance to Fusarium into onion.