DNA barcoding and isolation of vertically transmitted ascomycetes in sorghum from Burkina Faso: Epicoccum sorghinum is dominant in seedlings and appears as a common root pathogen

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  • Michaela Schiller Stokholm
  • Ednar G. Wulff
  • Elisabeth P. Zida
  • Ibié G. Thio
  • James B. Néya
  • Romain W. Soalla
  • Glazowska, Sylwia Emilia
  • Marianne Andresen
  • Henrik Bak Topbjerg
  • Birte Boelt
  • Ole Søgaard Lund

Molecular identification of fungal taxa commonly transmitted through seeds of sorghum in Western Africa is lacking. In the present study, farm-saved seeds, collected from four villages in Northern Burkina Faso, were surface sterilized and the distribution of fungal DNA in seeds and seven-day-old seedlings was analyzed by 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) amplicon sequencing. More than 99% of the fungal rDNA was found to originate from ascomycetes. The distribution of ascomycetes at species level was subsequently analyzed by barcoding of ITS2 rDNA. Eighteen Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) were identified from seedlings, compared to 29 OTUs from seeds. The top-eight most abundant ascomycete OTUs from seedlings were annotated as: Epicoccum sorghinum, Fusarium thapsinum, four different Curvularia spp., Exserohilum rostratum and Alternaria longissima. These OTUs were also present in amplicons from seed samples collected in Central Burkina Faso confirming a common occurrence. E. sorghinum was highly predominant in seedlings both measured by DNA analysis and by isolation. The dominance of E. sorghinum was particularly strong in roots from poorly growing seedlings. Pathogenicity of E. sorghinum isolates was compared to F. thapsinum by inoculation to seeds in vitro. Both fungal species caused significant inhibition of seedling growth (P<0.001) and Koch's postulates were fulfilled. Extensive, dark necrosis in roots was a typical symptom of E. sorghinum, whereas wilting of leaves was caused primarily by F. thapsinum. This study provides the first molecular approach to characterize the seedling mycoflora of sorghum in Western Africa and suggests E. sorghinum as a common root pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiological Research
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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  • Journal Article

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