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Keywords:

  • fungicide resistance;
  • geranium;
  • IPM;
  • Lupinus;
  • ornamental crops;
  • phenylamide;
  • Pelargonium×hortorum

Mefenoxam is one of the most commonly used fungicides for managing diseases caused by Phytophthora spp. on ornamentals. The objectives of this study were to determine whether Phytophthora nicotianae, a destructive pathogen of numerous herbaceous annual and perennial plant species in nurseries, has developed resistance to mefenoxam, and to evaluate the fitness of mefenoxam-resistant isolates. Ninety-five isolates of P. nicotianae were screened for sensitivity to mefenoxam on 20% clarified V8 agar at 100 a.i. µg mL−1. Twenty-five isolates were highly resistant to this compound with EC50 values ranging from 235·2 to 466·3 µg mL−1 and four were intermediately resistant with EC50 values ranging from 1·6 to 2·9 µg mL−1. Sixty-six isolates were sensitive with EC50 values less than 0·04 µg mL−1. Nine resistant and seven sensitive isolates were tested for mefenoxam sensitivity on Pelargonium × hortorum cv. White Orbit. Mefenoxam provided good protection of pelargonium seedlings from colonization by sensitive isolates, but not by any resistant isolates. Four resistant and four sensitive isolates were compared for fitness components and their relative competitive ability on Lupinus Russell Hybrids in the absence of mefenoxam. Resistant isolates outcompeted sensitive ones within 3 to 6 sporulation cycles on lupin seedlings, regardless of their initial proportions in mixed zoospore inoculum. Resistant isolates exhibited greater infection rate and higher sporulation ability than sensitive ones when they were applied separately onto lupins. These results suggest that fungicide resistance may pose a serious challenge to the continued effectiveness of mefenoxam as a control option for nursery growers.