Genetic diversity of Fusarium oxysporum and related species pathogenic on tomato in Algeria and other Mediterranean countries.
In order to characterize the pathogen(s) responsible for the outbreak of fusarium diseases in Algeria, 48 Fusarium spp. isolates were collected from diseased tomato in Algeria and compared with 58 isolates of Fusarium oxysporum originating from seven other Mediterranean countries and 24 reference strains. Partial sequences of the translation elongation factor EF-1α gene enabled identification of 27 isolates as F. oxysporum, 18 as F. commune and three as F. redolens among the Algerian isolates. Pathogenicity tests confirmed that all isolates were pathogenic on tomato, with disease incidence greater at 28°C than at 24°C. All isolates were characterized using intergenic spacer (IGS) DNA typing, vegetative compatibility group (VCG) and PCR detection of the SIX1 (secreted in xylem 1) gene specific to F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (FOL). No DNA polymorphisms were detected in the isolates of F. redolens or F. commune. In contrast, the 27 Algerian isolates of F. oxysporum were shown to comprise nine IGS types and 13 VCGs, including several potentially new VCGs. As none of the isolates was scored as SIX1+, the 27 isolates could be assigned to F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici (FORL). Isolates from Tunisia were also highly diverse but genetically distinct from the Algerian isolates. Several Tunisian isolates were identified as FOL by a PCR that detected the presence of SIX1. The results show that isolates from European countries were less diverse than those from Tunisia. Given the difference between Algerian populations and populations in other Mediterranean countries, newly emergent pathogenic forms could have evolved from local non-pathogenic populations in Algeria.