, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 63-70

Competition Effects Among Isolates of Fusarium culmorum Differing in Aggressiveness and Mycotoxin Production on Heads of Winter Rye

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Fusarium culmorum is a phytopathogenic, toxigenic fungus causing seedling diseases, foot rot and head blight of cereals. For estimating competition effects in mixtures of two single-spore isolates, two winter rye single crosses were tested with either four isolates individually or four 1 : 1 mixtures of the same isolates in six field environments. Two isolates (FC46, FC64) were highly aggressive deoxynivalenol (DON) and 3-acetyl DON-producers, the other two (FC30, FC71) were medium aggressive nivalenol-producers. Rye heads were inoculated during flowering with conidia of pairs of isolates expressing similar (FC46 + FC64, FC30 + FC71) or contrary (FC46 + FC71, FC30 + FC64) levels of aggressiveness and similar or different concentrations and chemotypes of mycotoxins, respectively. Head blight rating and yield components relative to the non-inoculated plots were recorded as aggressiveness traits. Additionally, mycotoxin concentrations were measured in the rye grain. Random pathogen samples were re-isolated from heads at the onset of symptom development and analysed by molecular markers (RAPD–PCR) in one environment. Aggressiveness of the isolate mixtures was significantly lower than that of the isolates applied individually on both rye genotypes. Similarly, mycotoxin concentrations were significantly lower in the mixtures in seven out of eleven comparisons. Among the re-isolates, the component genotypes of a mixture significantly deviated from the inoculated 1 : 1 ratio when a particular isolate (FC46) was present in the mixture. This isolate displayed a superior competitive ability irrespective of the aggressiveness or mycotoxin profile of the mixing partner illustrating that pathogenic fitness is caused by additional factors that have not, as yet, been identified.