The diversity and genetic differentiation of populations of Fusarium oxysporum associated with tomato fields, both endophytes obtained from tomato plants and isolates obtained from soil surrounding the sampled plants, were investigated. A total of 609 isolates of F. oxysporum were obtained, 295 isolates from a total of 32 asymptomatic tomato plants in two fields and 314 isolates from eight soil cores sampled from the area surrounding the plants. Included in this total were 112 isolates from the stems of all 32 plants, a niche that has not been previously included in F. oxysporum population genetics studies. Isolates were characterized using the DNA sequence of the translation elongation factor 1α gene. A diverse population of 26 sequence types was found, although two sequence types represented nearly two-thirds of the isolates studied. The sequence types were placed in different phylogenetic clades within F. oxysporum, and endophytic isolates were not monophyletic. Multiple sequence types were found in all plants, with an average of 4.2 per plant. The population compositions differed between the two fields but not between soil samples within each field. A certain degree of differentiation was observed between populations associated with different tomato cultivars, suggesting that the host genotype may affect the composition of plant-associated F. oxysporum populations. No clear patterns of genetic differentiation were observed between endophyte populations and soil populations, suggesting a lack of specialization of endophytic isolates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology