Anastomosis Groups of Rhizoctonia solani associated with tomato foot rot in Pothohar Region of Pakistan

Amjad Shahzad Gondal, Abdul Rauf, Farah Naz

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Rhizoctonia solani Kühn (teleomorph = Thanatephorus cucumeris (Frank) Donk) is one of the important soil-borne fungal pathogen, which infects tomato with typical symptoms of seedling damping-off and foot rot. During surveys (2014 and 2015 crop season) of nine tomato growing areas in Pothohar region of Pakistan, symptoms of foot rot were noted on approximately 33.4% of the plants observed at soil line level of the stem. Lesions on infected plant stems were irregular in shape, water-soaked, brown in colour manifesting sunken appearance. Fungal colonies isolated from stem portions of the diseased plants on malt extract agar medium were light grey to brown in colour with abundant mycelial growth and branched hyphae. A septum was always present in the branch of hyphae near the originating point with a slight constriction at the branch. No conidia or conidiophores were observed. All isolates were multinucleate when subjected to DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) stain. Based on morphological characteristics of fungal hyphae, isolates were identified as R. solani. Restriction analysis of PCR-amplified ribosomal DNA with four discriminant enzymes (MseI, AvaII, HincII, and MunI) and hyphal interactions with known tester strains confirmed these isolates belong to AG-3-PT (64.2%), AG-2-1 (14.2%), AG-2-2 (9.5%), AG-5 (7.1%) and AG-4-HGI (4.7%). AG-3-PT was widely distributed to major tomato growing areas while other groups were confined to distinct locations. Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA was amplified with the primers ITS1/ITS4 and sequenced which had 99–100% identity with the corresponding gene sequences of respective R. solani AGs. To confirm Koch’s postulates, four week old tomato plants were transplanted into 1.5 L plastic pots containing sterilized potting mixture i.e. sand: clay: farmyard manure, at the rate of 1:1:1. Soil inoculum containing 10 g of barley grains colonized with each isolate of R. solani for 14 days was mixed in the upper 2 cm layer of soil (Taheri and Tarighi, 2012). A set of uninoculated plants was used as a control. Ambient conditions were provided under the greenhouse. 21 days after inoculation, water-soaked greyish to brown lesions similar to the symptoms of the previous infection were observed on stem portions of all inoculated plants while control plants remained symptomless. Fungus re-isolated from infections was confirmed as R. solani by microscopic appearance of the hyphae. Present study is the first report of AG composition of R. solani infecting tomato in Pakistan which will be useful to breeding programs working on varietal evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3910
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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