Net blotch (NB) is a major disease of barley caused by the fungus Pyrenophora teres f. teres (Ptt), and P. teres f. maculata (Ptm). Ptt and Ptm infect the cultivated crop (Hordeum vulgare) and its wild relatives (H. vulgare ssp. spontaneum and H. murinum ssp. glaucum). The main goal of this research was to study the NB-causing pathogen in the crop center of origin. To address this, we have constructed a Ptt (n = 15) and Ptm (n = 12) collection isolated from three barley species across Israel. Isolates were characterized genetically and phenotypically. Aggressiveness of the isolates was determined based on necrotrophic growth rate on detached leaves of barley. In addition, isolates were genetically characterized by the mating type, followed by phylogenetic analysis, clustering them into seven groups. The analysis showed no significant differentiation of isolates based on either geographic origin, host of origin or form (Ptt vs. Ptm). Nevertheless, there was a significant difference in aggressiveness among the isolates regardless of host species, geographic location or sampling site. Moreover, it was apparent that the isolates derived from wild hosts were more variable in their necrotrophic growth rate, compared to isolates sampled from cultivated hosts, thereby suggesting that NB plays a major role in epidemiology at the center of barley origin where most of the diversity lies. Ptm has significantly higher necrotrophic and saprotrophic growth rates than Ptt, and for both a significant negative correlation was found between light intensity exposure and growth rates.
Keywords: Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum; Pyrenophora teres f. maculata (Ptm); Pyrenophora teres f. teres (Ptt); barley; net blotch (NB); resistance.