Two novel Phytophthora species from the southern tip of Africa

Abstract

The microbial diversity associated with natural vegetation in the Greater Cape Floristic Region of South Africa is largely unexplored. As part of the Cape Citizen Science programme and independent research, surveys were conducted between 2015 and 2019 to catalogue the diversity of Phytophthora species associated with many plant species endemic to this region. Using soil and water baiting techniques, six isolates of the provisionally described Phytophthora taxon emzansi were recovered, together with three isolates of an undescribed Phytophthora species. In this study, we used both molecular and morphological data to describe these Phytophthora species. Isolates of P. emzansi sp. nov. and P. afrocarpa sp. nov. formed monophyletic lineages within Phytophthora Clades 2 and 10, respectively. Phytophthora emzansi sp. nov. and P. capensis are sister species residing in the P. citricola species complex, and both are homothallic. Phytophthora afrocarpa sp. nov. is a sister species to P. gallica, and both these taxa are sexually sterile. The present study augments our knowledge of the unique Phytophthora species associated with the native vegetation of southern Africa.

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Data availability

Phytophthora species described in this study are available at recognized microbial culture repositories. All sequence data generated in this study (Table 1) are available at NCBI GenBank (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/). Alignment files can be accessed via TreeBASE (http://www.treebase.org).

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Acknowledgements

The staff of the SANBI Botanical Gardens are acknowledged for their support for the collections made by Trudy Paap and we are especially grateful to all of the participants of the Cape Citizen Science programme (https://citsci.co.za/). We appreciate permission to collect samples provided by SANParks (HULJ/AGR/006–2016/V3) and Cape Nature (0056-AAA041-00134). We thank Prof Noelani van den Berg and Juanita Engelbrecht of the Avocado Research Programme (ARP) at FABI for kindly sharing the mating type isolates of Phytophthora cinnamomi with us. We thank Dr Janneke Aylward (FABI and Stellenbosch University), Prof Adéle McLeod (Stellenbosch University) and members of the microbial culture collection of the Department of Plant Pathology, Stellenbosch University, for allowing us to retrieve their isolates of P. taxon emzansi.

Funding

This study was partially funded through the crowd-funding initiative of Joseph M. Hulbert (DOI:10.18258/2066). We also acknowledge additional funding from the University of Pretoria, members of the Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP), DSI/NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology (CPHB) South Africa and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), South Africa, noting that this publication does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of DFFE or its employees.

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All authors contributed equally to the conception, writing and preparation of this manuscript. Primary isolations and preliminary identification of Phytophthora species were completed by JMH and TP. Morphological characteristics were measured and documented by TB and JMH. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses were completed by TB and JMH. Culture deposition and sequence submission were completed by TB. The first draft of the manuscript was written by TB and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. This study was supervised by MJW, TIB and FR. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Tanay Bose.

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Bose, T., Hulbert, J.M., Burgess, T.I. et al. Two novel Phytophthora species from the southern tip of Africa. Mycol Progress 20, 755–767 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11557-021-01702-y

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Keywords

  • Afrotemperate forests
  • Fynbos
  • Greater Cape Floristic Region
  • Multi-gene phylogeny
  • Western Cape Province