An overview of Australia’s Phytophthora species assemblage in natural ecosystems recovered from a survey in Victoria
William A. Dunstan, Kay Howard, Giles E. StJ. Hardy, and Treena I. Burgess, IMA FUNGUS · 7(1): 47–58 (2016)
Although Phytophthora species cause serious diseases worldwide, until recently the main focus on disease in natural ecosystems in southern Australia has been on the distribution and impact of P. cinnamomi. However, new Phytophthora pathogens have emerged from natural ecosystems, and there is a need to better understand the diversity and distribution of these species in our natural forests, woodlands and heathlands. From a survey along a 70 km pipeline easement in Victoria, Phytophthora species were isolated from 249 rhizosphere samples and 25 bait bags deployed in 21 stream, river, or wetland locations. Of the 186 Phytophthora isolates recovered, 130 were identified to species based on ITS sequence data. Ninety-five isolates corresponded to 13 described Phytophthora species while additionally 35 isolates were identified as Clade 6 hybrids. Phytophthora cinnamomi was the most common species isolated (31 %), followed by P. elongata (6 %), both species were only recovered from soil. Samples from sites with the highest soil moisture at the time of sampling had the highest yield of isolates. Consistent with other studies throughout the world, Clade 6 species and their hybrids dominated water samples, although many of these species were also recovered less frequently from soil samples. Many of the species recovered in this study have not previously been reported from eastern Australia, reinforcing that Phytophthora species are widespread, abundant and diverse in natural ecosystems. We have probably been underestimating Phytophthora diversity in Australia.