Genetic variability, chemotype distribution, and aggressiveness of Fusarium culmorum on durum wheat in Tunisia
Fusarium culmorum is the most commonly reported root rot pathogen in Tunisian durum wheat. Isolates of the pathogen from four durum wheat growing areas in the north of Tunisia were analyzed for their chemotypes. Two chemotypes were detected at unequal abundance (96% of 3-ADON and 4% of NIV). Distribution of a SNP mutation located at the position 34 bp after the first exon of the EF-1α partial sequence was analysed, to verify whether the haplotype was specifically associated to Fusarium root rot. A and T haplotypes were homogeneously distributed in three different Tunisian regions (Mateur, Beja and Bousalem) but not for the region of Bizerte, from which greatest number of A haplotype strains were detected. The isolates were tested for their virulence under glasshouse conditions, and a mean of 91% of crown and root infection was observed. Chemotype influenced virulence, but there was no significant influence of the geographical origin or haplotype on virulence. The distribution of three inter simple sequence repeats (ISSR) was examined, to better understand the structure of F. culmorum populations in Tunisia. A total of 27 fragments were obtained with eight polymorphic bands. Cluster analysis showed a high level of similarity between isolates. Analysis of molecular variance confirmed that there was little genetic differentiation among F. culmorum strains from different locations.
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