Alternariaster was erected in 2007 to accommodate Alternaria helianthi, a fungal species known to cause leaf spots on Helianthus annuus (sunflower). It was segregated from Alternaria based on conidial morphology. Recently an unknown alternaria-like dematiaceous fungus was found associated with leaf spots on Bidens sulphurea (yellow cosmos) in Brazil. Based on a multi-gene phylogeny of parts of the ITS and LSU genes, this fungus was placed within the Leptosphaeriaceae with Alternariaster helianthi as its closest neighbour. Additional genes sequenced, RPB2 and GAPDH, confirmed this close relationship. The fungus on B. sulphurea has smaller conidia, 50–97.5 × 12.5–20 μm, compared to Al. helianthi, 80–160 × 18–30 μm, and lacks oblique or transverse septa which can be present in Al. helianthi. Pathogenicity studies on 18 plant species belonging to the Compositae showed that the B. sulphurea fungus only infected B. sulphurea, whereas Al. helianthi infected H. annuus and Galinsoga quadriradiata, a yet unreported host of Al. helianthi. The fungus causing disease on B. sulphurea is hence closely related but phylogenetically, morphologically and pathologically distinct from Al. helianthi, and therefore newly described as Alternariaster bidentis. The collection of a second species in the genus Alternariaster and the multigene phylogenetic analysis of these two species, confirmed Alternariaster to be a well-delimited genus in the Leptosphaeriaceae rather than the Pleosporaceae, to which Alternaria belongs.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Alternaria, fungal pathogens, host-range, multi-gene phylogeny
Journal Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi
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Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License

Citation
Alves, J.L, Woudenberg, J.H.C, Duarte, L.L, Crous, P.W, & Barreto, R.W. (2013). Reappraisal of the genus Alternariaster (Dothideomycetes). Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 31(1), 77–85.