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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

The presence of Phytophthora infestans in the rhizosphere of a wild Solanum species may contribute to off-season survival and pathogenicity

Vetukuri, Ramesh R.; Masini, Laura; McDougal, Rebecca; Panda, Preeti; de Zinger, Levine; Brus-Szkalej, Maja; Lankinen, Asa; Grenville-Briggs, Laura J.


We evaluated oomycete presence and abundance in the rhizosphere of wild perennial Solarium species to investigate the presence of plant pathogenic or mycoparasitic species. Furthermore, we investigated whether these plant species could function as hosts, or associated plants, for off-season survival of economically important pathogens. We collected soil samples in Sweden from Solarium dulcamara and as a control from Vitis vinifera over all four seasons of a year, and in New Zealand from Solarium nigrum and Solarium laciniatum in the summer. Species identification, confirmed by ITS and Cox2 sequencing, and root infection assays on the crop plant Solarium tuberosum and on S. dulcamara, suggested the presence of mainly Pythiales species. In Sweden, we also found evidence for the presence of Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of potato late blight, in the rhizosphere of S. dulcamara. These Ph. infestans isolates had no negative effects on root growth of S. dulcamara in Sweden, but were more pathogenic on potato leaves than a common lab strain. Oomycete diversity measures indicated a high similarly between seasons and countries. In conclusion, our study suggests a previously unknown overwintering strategy for the pathogen Ph. infestans, indicating a possible influence of the wild species S. dulcamara on the epidemiology of potato late blight in Sweden.


Soil microbiome; Pythiales; Late blight; Biodiversity; Solanum dulcamara; Phylogeny; Overwintering

Published in

Applied Soil Ecology
2020, Volume: 148, article number: 103475
Publisher: ELSEVIER