ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 101, No. 3 (2014), p. 303–312
DOI  10.13080/z-a.2014.101.039

Microscopic and molecular detection of Leptosphaeria maculans and L. biglobosa ascospore content in air samples



Airborne sexual spores of Leptosphaeria maculans and L. biglobosa are primary inoculum of fungi causing phoma stem canker of oilseed rape. In this study ascospore release of these two species was compared between Lithuania (of autumn 2010 and 2011) and Poland (autumns of 2009 till 2012), using identical equipment and methods. Dynamics of L. maculans and L. biglobosa ascospore dispersal was investigated using volumetric samplers followed by microscopic and molecular methods of detection. In Lithuania, the earliest detection of Leptosphaeria ascospores, using microscopy was on 1st September (2010) and on 2nd September (2011), whereas in Poland the earliest detection was on 5th September (2009 and 2010) and the latest on 11th October (2011), which demonstrates that differences between the seasons may exceed a month (36 days). In the case of molecular detection performed for the Polish samples, the dates of the earliest and the latest release of the first ascospores ranged from 5th September to 15th October (40 days). The number of days with ascospores detected in the air samples ranged from 6 (2012) to 25 (2009). At earliest, the detection of the highest concentration of ascospores was on 6th September (2010) and the latest – on 28th October (2009). These results demonstrate big differences between the results of spore monitoring between the years and the importance of aerobiological studies to follow the development of the pathogen in natural infection. The fluctuations in quantities of spores and fungal deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) strongly depended on the weather conditions, mainly rainfall, air temperature and relative humidity. Ascospore release was observed immediately after the rainfall events, but not later than two days after the rainfall. On days without rain, spores were present in the air samples when average relative air humidity exceeded 90% and day temperature was below 15°C. In 2009, molecular detection revealed the presence of both fungal species in the air samples, whereas in 2010–2012 only L. biglobosa DNA was found. Molecular detection with a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was identified as a fast and accurate method of pathogen detection and identification from air samples. The highest coefficient of correlation between microscopic and molecular detection of Leptosphaeria species was 0.828 (2009) and the lowest was 0.483 (2011); in all years both techniques of detection were statistically correlated. We have demonstrated that the correlation coefficient highly depended on the number of ascospores in air samples. Based on the studies performed in Lithuania and Poland, we have shown that climatic conditions in the northern part of Central Europe are favourable for the spread of Leptosphaeria spp. by ascospores; however, the patterns of ascospore release greatly differ between the both countries.

Key words: blackleg, Brassica napus, phoma stem canker, phytopathogen, pseudothecium, spore trap.

Full text:  101_3_str39.pdf