Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Phytophthora species associated with roots of native and non-native trees in natural and managed forests.

Abstract

Roots act as a biological filter that exclusively allows only a portion of the soil-associated microbial diversity to infect the plant. This microbial diversity includes organisms both beneficial and detrimental to plants. Phytophthora species are among the most important groups of detrimental microbes that cause various soil-borne plant diseases. We used a metabarcoding approach with Phytophthora-specific primers to compare the diversity and richness of Phytophthora species associated with roots of native and non-native trees, using different types of soil inocula collected from native and managed forests. Specifically, we analysed (1) roots of two non-native tree species (Eucalyptus grandis and Acacia mearnsii) and native trees, (2) roots of two non-native tree species from an in vivo plant baiting trial, (3) roots collected from the field versus those from the baiting trial, and (4) roots and soil samples collected from the field. The origin of the soil and the interaction between root and soil significantly influenced Phytophthora species richness. Moreover, species richness and community composition were significantly different between the field root samples and field soil samples with a higher number of Phytophthora species in the soil than in the roots. The results also revealed a substantial and previously undetected diversity of Phytophthora species from South Africa.