Frequency and pathogenicity of dematiaceous hyphomycetes on annual ryegrass overseeded on bermudagrass in Mississippi.
Fungal diseases of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), a cool-season species grown for forage and turf in the southeastern United States, and bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.), a warm-season perennial, usually are considered distinct. In May 2002 and 2004, symptoms of leaf and stem necrosis were observed simultaneously in forage bermudagrass and overseeded annual ryegrass on a swine waste application site in Mississippi. Sporulation by nine species of Bipolaris, Curvularia, Drechslera, and Exserohilum was observed on symptomatic leaves of ryegrass that were surface disinfested and plated on agar each year, and axenic cultures were established by spore transfers. These isolations represent four new worldwide and two new North American records of occurrence of fungal pathogens on ryegrass, and three new records for the southeastern United States and Mississippi. Bipolaris cynodontis, a common bermudagrass pathogen, and Drechslera dictyoides were observed most frequently on ryegrass during both years. In excised leaves of ryegrass inoculated with infested agar discs, most isolates of B. cynodontis from ryegrass and bermudagrass were equally virulent and caused necrosis equal to or greater than that caused by D. dictyoides, an established ryegrass pathogen. Isolates of B. cynodontis from both hosts also caused similar symptoms in foliage of ryegrass and bermudagrass following spore inoculations. Pathogenicity to ryegrass of five other species of dematiaceous hyphomycetes that represented new worldwide or North American records of occurrence also was demonstrated by foliar inoculations. All pathogens were reisolated from symptomatic tissues and grown in axenic culture for fulfillment of Koch's postulates. Results demonstrate that most of the same species of dematiaceous hyphomycetes infect both forage ryegrass and bermudagrass in Mississippi and indicate that B. cynodontis, in particular, may be a common and virulent pathogen of ryegrass in the southeastern United States.