European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 395–407 | Cite as

Outcome of sexual reproduction in the Phytophthora infestans population in Estonian potato fields

  • Riinu Kiiker
  • Merili Hansen
  • Ingrid H. Williams
  • David E. L. Cooke
  • Eve Runno-Paurson


In this study, the Estonian population of Phytophthora infestans was characterized with mating type, sensitivity to metalaxyl, virulence on 11 potato R-gene differentials and 12 SSR markers to show the outcome of potential sexual reproduction in the population. During the three years 2010–2012, 141 P. infestans isolates, collected from 23 potato fields, showed quite a high and stable frequency of the A2 mating type, 48% of the total population. In 87% of all sampled potato fields, both mating types were recorded, suggesting continuous sexual reproduction of P. infestans and possible oospore production. Metalaxyl-sensitive isolates prevailed in all three years (68 out of 99 isolates). Amongst the 95 isolates tested, 51 virulence races were found. The race structure was diverse, and most pathotypes were unique, appearing only once; the two most common pathotypes, and, comprised 35% of the population. The P. infestans population was genetically highly diverse and most of the multilocus genotypes (MLGs) appeared only once. Furthermore, all of the MLGs appeared in only one of the three sampling years. Our results confirm that the high diversity in the Estonian P. infestans population is most likely the result of frequent sexual reproduction, which benefits the survival, adaptability and diversity of the pathogen in the climate of North-Eastern Europe.


SSR markers Genetic diversity Mating type Virulence Metalaxyl resistance Late blight 



Alice Aav, Gerit Dreyersdorff, Kätlin Jõgi, Liis Laane, Helina Nassar, Terje Tähtjärv and Grete Zahkna are thanked for technical support. We are grateful to Asko Hannukkala from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) for supplying tester isolates for mating type determination. Many thanks too to Dr. Eva Randall at the James Hutton Institute for technical assistance.


This study was supported by Estonian Foundation grant no 9432, Institutional research funding IUT36–2 of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, projects RESIST 3.2.0701.11–0003 and IPMBlight 2.0 8T150054PKTK. The Scottish Government is acknowledged for funding at the James Hutton Institute. The study visit to The James Hutton Institute was supported by the European Social Fund’s Doctoral Studies and Internationalisation Programme DoRa, which is carried out by Foundation Archimedes.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riinu Kiiker
    • 1
  • Merili Hansen
    • 1
  • Ingrid H. Williams
    • 1
  • David E. L. Cooke
    • 2
  • Eve Runno-Paurson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  2. 2.The James Hutton InstituteDundeeUK

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