Differences in cerato-ulmin production between the EAN, NAN and non-aggressive subgroups of Ophiostoma ulmi



A test of comparative in vitro cerato-ulmin wilt toxin production in the aggressive and non-aggressive subgroups of the Dutch elm disease pathogen Ophiostoma ulmi was carried out by turbidity and ELISA methods. Ten non-aggressive, ten EAN aggressive and ten NAN aggressive isolates were tested from a range of geographical sources. In liquid shake cultures the non-aggressive isolates produced the greatest and the NAN aggressives the least mean biomass. Despite considerable variation in cerato-ulmin production by individual isolates in three separate experiments, both the turbidity and ELISA methods showed a clear separation of the non-aggressive and aggressive subgroups. Non-aggressive isolates produced little or no cerato-ulmin (ELISA range of means 0–56.0 ng/ml) and EAN and NAN aggressive isolates moderate to high levels (EAN 1.6–89.0 × 104 ng/ml and NAN 0.2–300 × 104 ng/ml). In the aggressive isolates no correlation was detected between cerato-ulmin production and either biomass or pathogenicity to clonal Commelin elm. The role of cerato-ulmin in the pathogenicity of O. ulmi is discussed.