, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 157-161

Sequential development of pathogens in the maize tarspot disease complex

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Abstract

The tarspot complex is caused by the interaction of Phyllachora maydis and Monographella maydis. Coniothyrium phyllachorae, possibly a mycoparasite, is found in older ascostromata of P. maydis, which always appears first causing tarspot. M. maydis follows and is responsible for the damaging “fisheye” symptom. The fisheye symptom is always associated with a tarspot in the center of the lesion, whereas 12 to 20% of the Phyllachora ascostromata remained free of M. maydis. Inoculations of maize leaves with the Microdochium anamorph of the Monographella (usually produced in lesions) failed to produce infections. Some infections with M. maydis were, however, obtained under unusual conditions in the field. Inoculations onto tarspots in the laboratory were unsuccessful, but in field experiments inoculations with conidia of M. maydis enhanced severity of the tarspot complex. Fisheye symptoms of the complex naturally appear 2 to 7 days after the manifestation of P. maydis. This is followed a week later by the appearance of M. maydis which became predominant in the lesions and is associated with empty perithecia of P. maydis. In the early stages of the tarspots pycnidia of the anamorph of P. maydis, Linochora sp., could occasionally be observed. Ascomata of M. maydis were rare in the field. Of the 36 genetic materials of CIMMYT tested, 30 developed the fisheye symptom, 4 tarspots only and 2 remained free of symptoms