Occurrence and pathogenicity of Pythium (Oomycota) on Ulva species (Chlorophyta) at different salinities

  • Herrero, Maria-Luz (Department of Molecular Plant Biology, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)) ;
  • Brurberg, May Bente (Department of Molecular Plant Biology, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)) ;
  • Ojeda, Dario I. (Department of Forest Genetics and Biodiversity, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)) ;
  • Roleda, Michael Y. (Department of Algae Production, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO))
  • Received : 2019.10.22
  • Accepted : 2020.02.25
  • Published : 2020.03.15


Pythium species are ubiquitous organisms known to be pathogens to terrestrial plants and marine algae. While several Pythium species (hereafter, Pythium) are described as pathogens to marine red algae, little is known about the pathogenicity of Pythium on marine green algae. A strain of a Pythium was isolated from a taxonomically unresolved filamentous Ulva collected in an intertidal area of Oslo fjord. Its pathogenicity to a euryhaline Ulva intestinalis collected in the same area was subsequently tested under salinities of 0, 15, and 30 parts per thousand (ppt). The Pythium isolate readily infected U. intestinalis and decimated the filaments at 0 ppt. Mycelium survived on U. intestinalis filaments for at least 2 weeks at 15 and 30 ppt, but the infection did not progress. Sporulation was not observed in the infected algal filaments at any salinity. Conversely, Pythium sporulated on infected grass pieces at 0, 15, and 30 ppt. High salinity retarded sporulation, but did not prevent it. Our Pythium isolate produced filamentous non-inflated sporangia. The sexual stage was never observed and phylogenetic analysis using internal transcribed spacer suggest this isolate belongs to the clade B2. We conclude that the Pythium found in the Oslo fjord was a pathogen of U. intestinalis under low salinity.


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