Regional survey and identification of Bipolaris spp. associated with rice seeds in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil.
In the harvest year of 2004, a random sample of seed lots (n=165) from six rice-growing regions of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) State, Brazil, were examined under seed health blotter test. Fungi growth resembling Bipolaris or Drechslera spp. was isolated and identified at the species level. Observations on the anamorphic structures (conidiophores and conidia) allowed separation of isolates into three groups. Pseudothecia, asci and ascospores from sexual crosses between isolates from a same anamorphic group but originated from different regions showed the typical characteristics of three recognized species (anamorph/teleomorph): Bipolaris cynodontis (Cochliobolus cynodontis); B. curvispora (C. melinidis) and B. oryzae (C. miyabeanus). All species were widely distributed across the rice-growing regions. Overall, the most prevalent species were B. oryzae (44.6%) and B. curvispora (42,9%) followed by B. cynodontis (24,1%). This is the first report of B. cynodontis associated with rice seeds in Brazil and the preliminary identification of B. curvispora in rice by the observation of the teleomorph phase was confirmed. The regional occurrence of a complex of pathogenic Bipolaris species related to brown spot epidemics in other countries, may have epidemiological consequences in the region which deserve further investigation.