Philippine Mangroves: A Cradle of Novel Pythium
Glen Carlo C. Aldover (1,2*), Katherina Aubrey P. Resente (1,2), Marco Thines (4,5), Reuel M. Bennett (1,2,3)
(1) UST Collection of Microbial Strains and Laboratory of Pure and Applied Microbiology, Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
(2 )The Graduate School, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
(3) Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science, University of Santo Tomas
(4) Evolutionary Analyses and Biological Archives, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
(5) Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Max-von-Laue-Str. 13, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Mangrove forests in estuarine and coastal areas are known habitats of saprotrophic fungal-like protists, such as the Oomycetes. While there have been reports on the occurrence of Pythium in terrestrial and aquatic environments, the presence of Pythium in Philippine mangrove forests still remains underreported. As one of the causative agents of damping-off and root rot, the potential distribution of Pythium in mangrove areas presents a risk for disease development in nearby plants. As such, there is a need to investigate the diversity of Pythium in the country’s mangrove forests and provide an initial understanding of their distribution among associated aquatic and terrestrial systems near these forests. Initial synoptic isolation of Pythium in some mangrove areas in La Union, Philippines, revealed two novel species of Pythium based on their gametangia, sporangia, and phylogenetic placement. The suspected pathogenicity of the isolates was also tested to determine the possible emergence of disease for crops and endemic plants in the region. With this study, both species diversity of the genus Pythium in Philippine mangroves as well as their propensity to be opportunistic pathogens for nearby flora has been established.