Morphologic and molecular characterization of Phomopsis longicolla (teleomorph unknown: Diaporthales) from tempered and subtropical regions of Argentina
Diaporthe (telomorfo)-Phomopsis (anamorph) (DP) is a fungal group of great genetic diversity with over 900 species associated to a wide host range that includes cultivated and uncultivated species, forest, fruit trees and weeds. DP isolates are hemi-biotrophs and have different sources of primary inoculum as stubble and seeds to restart cycles of parasitism - saprophytism. They colonize host tissues from early plant stages and establish different nutritional relationships, acting as endophytic and necrotrophic fungi. The plasticity of the Phomopsis genus has favored its expansion to different agro-ecosystems and various hosts constituting an epidemiological risk. The objective was to validate the identity and evaluate the biological relationships among 12 isolates of P. longicolla and D. phaseolorum var. sojae (anamorph P. phaseoli var. sojae) obtained in different tempered and subtropical agro-environments of Argentina, in order to analyze the variability and strategies for preserving fungal biodiversity. Macro-morphological attributes (such as texture and color of colonies, stroma shape and distribution, pycnidia and perythecia shape and distribution) and micro-morphological characteristics (such as size and shape of conidia, asci and ascospores) allowed identifying three new isolates as P. longicolla. A complementary molecular analysis was also made to overcome the limitations derived from the morphological analysis, thus the AFP.8413 isolate was finally identified as P. longicolla. The molecular characterization was useful to identify the evaluated isolates and to group them in four taxa of the Diaporthe-Phomopsis complex: ten isolates were included in P. longicolla, one isolate was included in D. phaseolorum var. sojae (anamorph P. phaseoli var. sojae), one isolate was identified as D. phaseolorum var. caulivora and two isolates were included in D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis. The use of phenotipic and molecular tools have contributed to an accurate identification of P. longicolla, that added to its biological relationships comprehension (homo or heterothallic hibridizations) among D. phaseolorum varieties (P. phaseoli) and species of Diaporthe-Phomopsis, have allowed a better understanding of the mechanisms of fungic plasticity, to colonize and expand their host range and genetic variability, and to promote their biodiversity conservation.