A new Phytophthora disease of common alder (Alnus glutinosa) similar to that previously reported in several countries in Europe has been observed in Hungary. Based on these earlier studies, the alder Phytophthora was considered likely to be a hybrid between P cambivora and a P fragariae-like species: across Europe a range of new alder Phytophthora is spreading that comprise a range of heteroploid hybrids including a ‘standard’ hybrid type and several other hybrid types termed ‘variants’. Phenotypic and molecular features of the pathogen in Hungary were characterised and compared with isolates from elsewhere. The morphologies of five isolates from one region (Hévíz) resembled the common, ‘standard’ type, whereas the three isolates from another region (Hanság) exhibited traits similar to those of one of the ‘variant’ types, ie the Swedish ‘variant’. Molecular markers of these two groups of Hungarian isolates also represented a good fit to those of the standard type and the Swedish variant, respectively. Isozyme patterns and profiles of restriction fragments of the entire internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region or mitochondrial DNAs and of RAPD-PCR products did not differ within a group, but distinct polymorphisms were exhibited between the two groups of isolates. Southern analysis of random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) revealed the homologous nature of co-migrating bands of P cambivora and the isolates of alder Phytophthora. Furthermore, restriction fragment profiles of the ITS region of ribosomal DNAs and the mtDNAs were consistent with reported biparental origin of alder Phytophthora. The hybrid status of these continuously evolving pathogens raises many issues and challenges concerning efficient control measures.
© 2003 Society of Chemical Industry