Spongospora subterranea is a soil-borne, obligate parasitic protist that causes powdery scab of potatoes. In this study, an in vitro culture system was developed for the maintenance and proliferation of the protist in potato hairy roots. The hairy roots of potato were induced in vitro with Agrobacterium rhizogenes. Cystosori of S. subterranea from potato scab lesions were surface disinfested and used to inoculate potato hairy roots. Plasmodia, zoosporangia, and cystosori were observed microscopically in the hairy roots within 6 wk after inoculation, indicating the completion of the life cycle of S. subterranea in vitro. This is the first in vitro culture system for S. subterranea, and will be a valuable tool to study fundamental and practical aspects of the biology of the parasite.
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