Indexed on: 01 Jun '03Published on: 01 Jun '03Published in: Plant Disease
Since 1997, hop wilt induced by a virulent pathotype of Verticillium albo-atrum has caused considerable economic losses in hop fields in Slovenia. In all, 20 isolates of V. albo-atrum, including 12 from plants affected with the lethal form (PG2) of hop wilt, 6 from plants with the mild form (PG1), 1 from cucumber, and 1 from petunia, as well as 1 isolate of V. dahliae each from hop and green pepper, were analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Differences in the virulence of hop isolates were confirmed by pathogenicity tests on hop cultivars. The AFLP method was optimized for analysis of these fungi and 7 of 39 primer combinations tested were used for the analysis of polymorphism among isolates. Cluster analysis of AFLP data divided the isolates into two, well-separated V. albo-atrum and V. dahliae clusters, confirming that the two species are genetically distinct. Within the V. albo-atrum cluster, isolates were further separated into two distinct groups: the A1 group contained PG1 hop pathotype and cucumber and petunia isolates, and the A2 group all hop isolates of the PG2 pathotype. Minor genetic variation was detected within pathotype-associated AFLP groups, but the clear separation of V. albo-atrum hop isolates according to their level of virulence shows genetic differentiation among hop V. albo-atrum pathotypes.