<I>Aphelenchoides hylurgi</I> as a Carrier of White, Hypovirulent <I>Cryphonectria parasitica</I> and its Possible Role in Hypovirulence Spread on Blight-Controlled American Chestnut Trees


  • G. J. Griffin
  • J. D. Eisenback
  • M. M. Yancey
  • J. Templeton


biocontrol, chestnut blight, fungivorus nematodes, hypovirulence spread, white hypovirulent strains


Individual nematodes were isolated from American chestnut blight-controlled cankers to determine if they were carriers of biocontrol (hypovirulent) isolates of the chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica. These hypovirulent isolates have a white fungal colony phenotype due to infection by the virus CHV1. Of 1,620 individual Aphelenchoides hylurgi isolated, 29.4% carried propagules of the blight fungus and 8.2% of these yielded white hypovirulent isolates. In attraction and movement tests in Petri plates, A. hylurgi moved 2 cm over 24 hr to mycelial discs of white hypovirulent C. parasitica and pigmented C. parasitica strains in nearly equal numbers. After 2 days of nematode movement to fungal colonies on agar in Petri plates and 21 days of nematode growth, large numbers of A. hylurgi were extracted from both white hypovirulent and pigmented C. parasitica strain colonies. Lower numbers of A. hylurgi were extracted from excised young American chestnut blight cankers that were inoculated with A. hylurgi and incubated for 22 days. A. hylurgi inoculated on the surface of an excised American chestnut canker moved within 24 hr to the small, sporebearing C. parasitica reproductive structures (stromata) on the canker surface. The results indicate that A. hylurgi may play a role in the spread of hypovirulence on American chestnut trees.