Morphological and genetic analyses of the invasive forest pathogen Phytophthora austrocedri reveal that two clonal lineages colonized Britain and Argentina from a common ancestral population

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Phytopathology, Volume 107, Issue 12, p.1532 - 1540 (2017)



Phytophthora austrocedri is causing widespread mortality of Austrocedrus chilensis in Argentina and Juniperus communis in Britain. The pathogen has also been isolated from J. horizontalis in Germany. Isolates from Britain, Argentina, and Germany are homothallic, with no clear differences in the dimensions of sporangia, oogonia, or oospores. Argentinian and German isolates grew faster than British isolates across a range of media and had a higher temperature tolerance, although most isolates, regardless of origin, grew best at 15°C and all isolates were killed at 25°C. Argentinian and British isolates caused lesions when inoculated onto both A. chilensis and J. communis; however, the Argentinian isolate caused longer lesions on A. chilensis than on J. communis and vice versa for the British isolate. Genetic analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial loci showed that all British isolates are identical. Argentinian isolates and the German isolate are also identical but differ from the British isolates. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms are shared between the British and Argentinian isolates. We concluded that British isolates and Argentinian isolates conform to two distinct clonal lineages of P. austrocedri founded from the same as-yet-unidentified source population. These lineages should be recognized and treated as separate risks by international plant health legislation.