Diplanetism and microcyclic sporulation in Phytophthora ramorum

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Forest Pathology, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Volume 41, Number 5, p.349–354 (2011)




The zoosporic phase of the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum plays a crucial role in the process of plant infection, yet little is known about the fate of zoospores failing to target their hosts. Here, we describe new stages in the life cycle of P. ramorum concerning the in vitro development of monomorphic diplanetism and microcyclic sporulation in free water. Papillate cysts were formed after zoospore suspensions of isolates of the EU1 and NA1 clonal lineages were vortexed. Cysts usually germinated directly forming an emerging tube, or indirectly by releasing a secondary zoospore, which leaves behind an empty cyst with a short evacuation tube. Germinate cysts frequently developed either an appressorium or a microsporangium both terminally. We also observed microcyclic sporulation, i.e. sporangia indirectly germinated by forming a microsporangium, as in microcyclic conidiation of true fungi. Temporal progress of encysted zoospores in solution showed that percentage of germination varied significantly among and within isolates as well as between experiments, suggesting that germination is partly ruled by internal mechanisms. Diplanetism and microcyclic sporulation in P. ramorum may provide a second opportunity for host infection and may increase the chance of long dispersal in moving water.