Verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium dahliae and V. nonalfalfae in potato in northern China.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the most important staple foods in many parts of the world including China. In recent years, Verticillium wilt has become a severe threat to potato production in China. During 2015 to 2016, 287 samples of symptomatic potato plants were collected from 15 counties in five provinces from northern China. One hundred and eighty-seven Verticillium-like colonies were isolated from these samples and identified to species based on cultural and morphological characteristics, and multigene phylogeny based on the partial sequences of actin (ACT), elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1α), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD), and tryptophan synthase (TS) genes. A consensus-rooted most parsimonious phylogenetic tree was generated from the data. One hundred and fifteen isolates comprising 61.5% of the total were identified as Verticillium dahliae, and the remaining 38.5% of the isolates were identified as V. nonalfalfae. V. dahliae was widely distributed in Shaanxi (84.1%), Inner Mongolia (76.7%), Gansu (12.8%), and Qinghai (100%, representing a single isolate). V. dahliae was not recovered from the samples in Ningxia. V. nonalfalfae dominated the collections from Gansu (87.2%) and Ningxia (100%) but was also recovered from Shaanxi (15.9%) and Inner Mongolia (23.3%) at lower frequencies. Neither V. albo-atrum nor V. alfalfae was recovered from the sampled areas. The V. nonalfalfae isolates were predominantly isolated from the samples collected from altitudes above 1,800 m, and in contrast, V. dahliae isolates were mainly recovered from fields sampled below 1,800 m. The optimum temperature for the colony growth of V. nonalfalfae was lower (20°C) than that for V. dahliae (25°C). Pathogenicity tests demonstrated that V. dahliae and V. nonalfalfae were both pathogens of potato Verticillium wilt, with V. dahliae isolates exhibiting higher virulence than V. nonalfalfae isolates regardless of the collection area of the species. This is the first documentation of V. nonalfalfae infecting S. tuberosum in China and the higher altitudes associated with infections of V. nonalfalfae anywhere in the world.