University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
Population structure of Pyrenophora teres, the causal agent of net blotch of barley
Doctoral dissertation, June 2006.
Spring barley is the most important crop in Finland based on cultivated land area. Net blotch, a disease caused by Pyrenophora teres Drech., is the most damaging disease of barley in Finland. The pressure to improve the economics and efficiency of agriculture has increased the need for more efficient plant protection methods. Development of durable host-plant resistance to net blotch is a promising possibility. However, deployment of disease resistant crops could initiate selection pressure on the pathogen (P. teres) population. The aim of this study was to understand the population biology of P. teres and to estimate the evolutionary potential of P. teres under selective pressure following deployment of resistance genes and application of fungicides.
The study included mainly Finnish P. teres isolates. Population samples from Russia and Australia were also included. Using AFLP markers substantial genotypic variation in P. teres populations was identified. Differences among isolates were least within Finnish fields and significantly higher in Krasnodar, Russia. Genetic differentiation was identified among populations from northern Europe and from Australia, and between the two forms P. teres f. teres (PTT, net form of net blotch) and P. teres f. maculata (PTM, spot form of net blotch) in Australia. Differentiation among populations was also identified based on virulence between Finnish and Russian populations, and based on prochloraz (fungicide) tolerance in the Häme region in Finland. Surprisingly only PTT was recovered from Finland and Russia although both forms were earlier equally common in Finland. The reason for the shift in occurrence of forms in Finland remained uncertain. Both forms were found within several fields in Australia. Sexual reproduction of P. teres was supported by recover of both mating types in equal ratio in those areas although the prevalence of sexual mating seems to be less in Finland than in Australia. Population from Krasnodar was an exception since only one mating type was found in there. Based on the substantial high genotypic variation in Krasnodar it was suggested go represent an old P. teres population, whereas the Australian samples were suggested to represent newer populations.
In conclusion, P. teres populations are differentiated at several levels. Human assistance in dispersal of P. teres on infected barley seed is obvious and decreases the differentiation among populations. This can increase the plant protection problems caused by this pathogen. P. teres is capable of sexual reproduction in several areas but the prevalence varies. Based on these findings it is apparent that P. teres has the potential to pose more serious problems in barley cultivation if plant protection is neglected. Therefore, good agricultural practices, including crop rotation and the use of healthy seed, are recommended.
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© University of Helsinki 2006
Last updated 12.05.2006