Evolution and biology of Colletotrichum truncatum


Colletotrichum truncatum is a pathogen of several leguminous plant species where it causes a disease called anthracnose. Host specialization, infertility and genetic differentiation among isolates from different hosts have been demonstrated. In the population of C. truncatum from lentil two races were described. Detailed histological studies of the infection process by isolates of both races have revealed quantitative rather than qualitative differences. We developed a protocol to induce the sexual stage of the fungus, Glomerella truncata, for the first time. Mating type studies showed that isolates were self-sterile and fell into two sexual compatibility groups (SCG), but all isolates possessed a molecular marker for one of two mating types that are usually required for sexual recombination in this group of fungi that cannot self. This suggests that C. truncatum, as has been reported for other species in Colletotrichum, has a mating system unlike that of other fungi in the same group (ascomycetes). Although sexual structures have not been reported in nature, both SCGs have been isolated from the same lentil plant allowing for physical contact, and potentially sexual reproduction. Diversity studies have revealed very low levels of genetic diversity in this population raising questions about its origin and evolution. Canada is the only country where this disease is a major constraint to lentil production although isolates have been reported from other countries (Bulgaria, Pakistan, Afghanistan), so the fungus could have been introduced on infected lentil seed. Alternatively, indigenous leguminous species may also harbour this species that could have jumped to lentil when this crop was more widely grown.  This project aims at gaining a better understanding of the evolution and biology of this pathogen. In doing so we hope to be able to better estimate the risk for new races to develop that could lead to resistance break-down in lentil cultivars.

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Research Area

In the Pulse Crop Pathology Group we are interested in the biology of fungal and bacterial pathogens and their interaction with the legume host plants. The ultimate goal is to gain a better understanding of strategies employed by these pathogens to successfully invade and colonize pulse crops, and to explo ... [more]

Related Species

Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) is an important pulse crop with annual production of 3-4 Mt across 70 countries (Cubero et al. 2009. DOI 10.1079/9781845934873.0000; pg. 13). Lentils are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, micronutrients and vitamins for human nutrition and is consumed in more than 120 countries. Furthermore, their small seed size and flat shape make them relatively quick cooking and easily decorticated compared to most other grain legumes (Sharpe et al. 2013. BMC Genomics. DOI 10.1186/1471-2164-14-192). The Lentil plant has a bushy growth habit with a height of about 40 cm; the seeds are lens-shaped and usually grow two per pod. ... [more]

Sequences, Variants & Markers