Verticillium longisporum is an economically important fungal pathogen of brassicaceous crops that originated from at least three hybridization events between different Verticillium spp., leading to the hybrid lineages A1/D1, A1/D2, and A1/D3. Isolates of lineage A1/D1 generally cause stem striping on oilseed rape (Brassica napus), which has recently been reported for the first time to occur in the United Kingdom. Intriguingly, the emerging U.K. population is distinct from the north-central European stem striping population. Little is known about the pathogenicity of the newly emerged U.K. population; hence, pathogenicity tests were executed to compare British isolates to previously characterized reference strains. In addition to the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the pathogenicity of four British isolates was assessed on four cultivars of three Brassica crop species: oilseed rape (Quartz and Incentive), cauliflower (Clapton), and Chinese cabbage (Hilton). To this end, vascular discoloration of the roots, plant biomass accumulations, and fungal stem colonization upon isolate infection were evaluated. The British isolates appeared to be remarkably aggressive, because plant biomass was significantly affected and severe vascular discoloration was observed. The British isolates were successful stem colonizers and the extent of fungal colonization negatively correlated with plant biomass of cauliflower and Quartz oilseed rape. However, in Quartz, the fungal colonization of A1/D1 isolates was significantly lower than that of the virulent reference isolate from lineage A1/D3, PD589. Moreover, despite levels of stem colonization similar to those of A1/D1 strains, PD589 did not cause significant disease on Incentive. Thus, A1/D1 isolates, including British isolates, are aggressive oilseed rape pathogens despite limited colonization levels in comparison with a virulent A1/D3 isolate.
- Verticillium stem striping