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  • Author or Editor: N. Sakr x
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Phenotypic groups including pathogenic, morphological and genetic characteristics for 50 Plasmopara halstedii (downy mildew) isolates belonging to seven races based on interactions with sunflower plants were revealed. Pathogenicity for pathogen isolates were analysed in sunflower plants showing different levels of resistance. Based on the reaction for the P. halstedii isolates to sunflower hybrids varying only in Pl resistance genes, there were three identified groups based on virulence reaction. Index of aggressiveness was calculated for pathogen isolates and revealed the presence of significant differences between isolates of 100 and 3xx races (more aggressive) and isolates of 710 and 7xx races (less aggressive). Morphological analyses were carried out on zoosporangia and sporangiophores for P. halstedii isolates produced on the surface of cotyledons in sunflower plants infected thought roots. There were no groups based on the morphology of zoosporangia and sporangiophores for pathogen isolates. Genetic relationships were detected between pathogen isolates using 12 EST-derived markers. There was no intra-race genetic variation, but five genetically-identified groups were detected among pathogen isolates of all races. Combining data of pathogen’s variation with variability in sunflower to arrive at durable resistance against P. halstedii was discussed.

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Pathogenic variation was studied in 16 fungal isolates of four Fusarium head blight (FHB) species on two modern Syrian bread and durum wheat cultivars using an in vitro Petri-dish test. Three aggressiveness criteria: germination rate reduction, standardized area under disease progress curve (AUDPCstandard), and coleoptile length reduction were evaluated. Regarding AUDPCstandard, intra- and inter-species variability in aggressiveness was detected. The other two aggressiveness criteria did not distinguish fungal isolates within and among species. It seems that AUDPCstandard may be used to measure aggressiveness of FHB on wheat at early stages. The three aggressiveness parameters were not significantly correlated. Cultivar-specific aggressiveness has not been detected. It was not possible to cluster the isolates based on their species origins because of similarity in pathogenic level among the 16 fungal isolates. Bread wheat was more resistant to FHB infection than durum wheat in vitro. The two tested modern cultivars were shown to exhibit moderate to high FHB resistance levels.

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Pathogenicity including virulence and aggressiveness characteristics was studied on three Plasmopara halstedii (the causal agent of downy mildew) isolates of races 710, 714 and 704 using five single zoosporangium isolates per pathogen isolate. Based on the reaction for the P. halstedii isolates to four sunflower hybrids H1 to H4 varying only in their downy mildew resistance genes, there were differences in virulence spectrum in pathogen isolates. Analysis of five single zoosporangium isolates for P. halstedii isolates showed significant variability within pathogen isolate for all aggressiveness criteria. There were no significant differences among pathogen isolates for all aggressiveness criteria. There were significant differences in the morphology of zoosporangia and sporangiophores for pathogen isolates. Genetic relationships were detected between pathogen isolates using 12 EST-derived markers. There was no intra-race genetic variation, but three genetically-identified groups were detected among pathogen isolates.

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The fitness cost associated with virulence was analyzed in a local Plasmopara halstedii (sunflower downy mildew) population. Pathogenic and molecular analyses were carried out on seven pathogen isolates including five progeny isolates of five P. halstedii races arising from two parental ones. P. halstedii isolates showed significant differences for all aggressiveness criteria and important genetic variations. Two cases of relationship (positive and negative) between virulence and aggressiveness for progeny isolates as compared with parental ones were found. Mean virulence cost values varied between 19.9% for positive relationship between the two components of pathogenicity and 50.8% for negative one. For solving the presence of two cases in pathogenicity, the relationship between virulence and aggressiveness among the isolates of three different races localized in the same genetic clade was positive. The hypothesis explaining these cases are discussed.

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The fast evolution of Plasmopara halstedii (downy mildew) remains a major risk for sunflower crop, as new races of the pathogen are bypassing the resistance of sunflower hybrids. In order to understand the processes which led a new virulence to appear in a local P. halstedii population, the genetic relationships were studied using 12 EST (Expressed Sequence Tag)-derived markers between five progeny isolates of races 300, 304, 314, 704 and 714 and two parental ones of races 100 and 710. All genetic analyses were carried out using five single zoosporangium isolates per P. halstedii isolate. There was no intra-isolate genetic variation among the seven pathogen isolates and five multilocus genotypes (MLG) were identified among the 35 P. halstedii single zoosporangium isolates. The single zoosporangium isolates of races 314, 704 and 714 had an intermediary genetic position between the single zoosporangium isolates of two parental isolates. The single zoosporangium isolates of three isolates of races 100, 300 and 304 were localized in the same genetic clade. Two genetic mechanisms could explain the emergence of new virulence in P. halstedii as a recombination between races and mutations in a clonal lineage.

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Evolution of pathogenicity, morphological, and genetic traits were analyzed in a local Plasmopara halstedii (downy mildew) population (including two parental and five progeny isolates) multiplied under sunflower qualitative resistance selection pressure for five years. The two components of pathogenicity developed in response to Pl resistance genes selection pressure. The emergence of new virulence in P. halstedii progeny isolates carrying several levels of aggressiveness was an important consequence of selection pressure. However, appearance of new virulence did get along with evolution of aggressiveness in progeny isolates as compared with parental ones. For progeny P. halstedii isolates, an increase in pathogen virulence had direct consequences on its aggressiveness. There was no influence of selection pressure on morphological traits, but an effect was observed on evolution of genetic architecture. However, arrangement of genetic traits did get along with evolution of pathogenicity. It is clear that qualitative resistance selection pressure plays an important role in the evolution of sunflower downy mildew population.

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Silicon (Si) is reported to improve plant resistance to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses, with consequent yield increases. Silicon plays an important role in providing defense for crops of great economic importance against insect pests attack. In this study, the interaction between plants treated with silicon and reduced insect damage was reviewed. The current review presents the agronomic importance of silicon in plants, the control of insect pests in different major crop plants by silicon treatment, the different mechanisms of silicon- enhanced resistance, and the absence of silicon effects on insect pests. By integrating the data presented in this paper, a good knowledge of the association between silicon treatment, increasing plant resistance, and decreasing insect pest damage could be attainted.

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Aggressiveness variation among 16 isolates of four Fusarium species (F. culmorum, F. solani, F. verticillioides and F. equiseti) causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) was studied in vitro. Evaluation of three aggressiveness criteria involved in a Petri-dish test: germination rate reduction, standardized area under disease progress curve (AUDPCstandard), and coleoptile length reduction was carried out on the barley cultivar Arabi Aswad. Results showed differences between barley plants inoculated with FHB isolates and control for the three tested aggressiveness criteria. Regarding AUDPCstandard and Petri-dish aggressiveness index which is calculated from the mean value of three aggressiveness criteria, within and among variation was detected. Intra- and inter-species variability was not distinguished for the other two aggressiveness criteria. However, pathogenic level observed among 16 isolates can not be differentiated within the four FHB species. Significant correlation was detected only between AUDPCstandard and Petri-dish aggressiveness index. The results were comparable with those previously obtained using the same fungal isolates on wheat cultivar in vitro. It seems that FHB isolates recovered from wheat spikes and tested on wheat plants showed a similar range of aggressiveness on a barley cultivar, Arabi Aswad.

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Comparison of two storage techniques (Castellani’s method and freezing) was carried out for 16 isolates of four Fusarium head blight species and 54 isolates of Cochliobolus sativus causing spot blotch and common root rot. The viability, purity and morphological stability of cultures were verified for a one year period. Duplicate isolates were stored as a fungal suspension in sterile distilled water at 4 °C, and fungal cultures by freezing at –16 °C. The viability of 70 isolates was 100% for the two storage methods. Morphological alternations and pathogenic contaminations were not detected. All isolates were able to retain viability, purity and morphological stability by the two tested storage methods for over 12 months. Castellani’s method and freezing were found to be safe, easy, inexpensive and reliable.

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In order to clarify the role of Pl PMI3 resistance gene in sunflower differential lines D4 for differentiation the pathogenicity in Plasmopara halstedii (sunflower downy mildew), analyses were carried out in two groups including four pathotypes which overcome and do not overcome Pl PMI3 (Pl gene has still not been mapped) resistance gene. Based on the reaction for the P. halstedii isolates to sunflower hybrids varying only in Pl resistance genes, there were no virulence differences for the two groups. Index of aggressiveness was calculated for pathogen isolates and revealed the presence of significant differences between isolates of races 304 and 314; however, there were no aggressiveness differences for 7xx races. Regarding the life-history trait and the genetic architecture of the pathogen: there were morphological and genetic variations for the four P. halstedii isolates without a correlation with pathogenic diversity. The importance of the Pl PMI3 resistance gene to differentiate the pathogenicity in sunflower downy mildew was discussed.

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