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Open AccessArticle

Morphological, Pathogenic and Toxigenic Variability in the Rice Sheath Rot Pathogen Sarocladium Oryzae

1
Laboratory of Phytopathology, Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2
Research Group EnVOC, Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
3
Laboratory of Applied Mycology and Phenomics, Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Valentin Vaerwyckweg 1, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2020, 12(2), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12020109 (registering DOI)
Received: 26 December 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 8 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
Sheath rot is an emerging rice disease that leads to considerable yield losses. The main causal agent is the fungus Sarocladium oryzae. This pathogen is known to produce the toxins cerulenin and helvolic acid, but their role in pathogenicity has not been clearly established. S. oryzea isolates from different rice-producing regions can be grouped into three phylogenetic lineages. When grown in vitro, isolates from these lineages differed in growth rate, colour and in the ability to form sectors. A diverse selection of isolates from Rwanda and Nigeria, representing these lineages, were used to further study their pathogenicity and toxin production. Liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry analysis was used to measure cerulenin and helvolic acid production in vitro and in planta. The three lineages clearly differed in pathogenicity on the japonica cultivar Kitaake. Isolates from the least pathogenic lineage produced the highest levels of cerulenin in vitro. Helvolic acid production was not correlated with the lineage. Sectorisation was observed in isolates from the two least pathogenic lineages and resulted in a loss of helvolic acid production. In planta, only the production of helvolic acid, but not of cerulenin, correlated strongly with disease severity. The most pathogenic isolates all belonged to one lineage. They were phenotypically stable, shown by the lack of sectorisation, and therefore maintained high helvolic acid production in planta.
Keywords: Oryza sativa; cerulenin; helvolic acid; sectorisation; phenotypic stability; LC–MS/MS; Africa Oryza sativa; cerulenin; helvolic acid; sectorisation; phenotypic stability; LC–MS/MS; Africa
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Peeters, K.J.; Haeck, A.; Harinck, L.; Afolabi, O.O.; Demeestere, K.; Audenaert, K.; Höfte, M. Morphological, Pathogenic and Toxigenic Variability in the Rice Sheath Rot Pathogen Sarocladium Oryzae. Toxins 2020, 12, 109.

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