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Tilletia Research

Lori M. Carris

A new species of bunt fungus, Tilletia vankyi Carris & Castlebury, exhibits a spore germination pattern unique to known reticulate-spored species of Tilletia.  Tilletia vankyi was found infecting plants in seed production fields of Festuca rubra ssp. rubra (red fescue) and F. rubra ssp. fallax (Chewing’s fescue) in Oregon, and in seed lots of Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) from Australia and Germany. Teliospores germinate to form 20–40 uninucleate, non-conjugating basidiospores, and colonies derived from single basidiospores produce teliospores in culture. In inoculation studies using single basidiospore colonies, perennial ryegrass and L. perenne ssp. multiflorum (Italian or annual ryegrass)were infected. A phylogenetic analysis, based on ITS region rDNA, eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1 alpha, and the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II demonstrated that the fescue and ryegrass bunts are conspecific, and distinct from known species of Tilletia (Carris et al. 2007.  Mycological Research 111:1386-1398).

Australian Lolium Bunt
Slide view of Tilletia