Mating types of Phytophthora colocasiae on the island of Upolu, Samoa
Taro leaf blight (TLB) caused by Phytophthora colocasiae is a damaging disease that destroyed Samoa’s taro industry following its introduction in 1993. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of the A1 and A2 mating types of P. colocasiae for a more comprehensive understanding of the risk the pathogen poses for the future of the taro industry in Samoa. In September 2015, 54 isolates of P. colocasiae were collected from taro leaf blight lesions from 13 farms around the island of Upolu, Samoa. The mating types of each isolate was determined by observation of oospore formation when paired with tester isolates of Phytophthora nicotianae of known mating types (A1 or A2). Fifty isolates were found to be A2 mating type and four did not form oospores with either mating type. No A1 or self-fertile isolates were found. These results suggest that the A1 mating type has not been introduced to the island of Upolu, preventing the formation of oospores between compatible mating types of P. colocasiae and lessening the risk of new and potentially more threatening genotypes of the pathogen from emerging through genetic recombination.
Keywords taro leaf blight, Colocasia esculenta, taro, sexual reproduction