The rust fungus Puccinia spegazzinii (Basidiomycotina: Uredinales) has been identified as a potential classical biological control agent for the invasive weed Mikania micrantha (Asteraceae). Long-term, live storage of this pathogen is required for reference. As biotrophs, almost all rusts species cannot be preserved by traditional cryopreservation protocols, which rely on in vitro culture techniques. In addition, the embedded teliospores and delicate basidiospores of this microcyclic rust are not amenable to direct plunge freezing. Continuous culture of the rust on living plants is both laborious and expensive, so a variety of approaches for cryopreservation and storage were tested. These methods included traditional approaches to fungal cryopreservation such as variation of cooling rate regime and alginate encapsulation techniques. However, an in situ cryopreservation technique was the only method identified as having any potential for the long-term cryopreservation of the 10 isolates tested. Material from either petiole or stem tissue remained viable after cryopreservation, determined by the ability of the material to produce basidiospores. However, despite great progress being made in developing an optimal cryopreservation method, infection of the host plant by basidiospores produced from previously cryopreserved teliospores, embedded in leaf petioles, was not achieved.
Ryan, M.J.; Ellison, S.A. Development of a cryopreservation protocol for the microcyclic rust-fungus Puccinia spegazzinii. Cryo Letters (2003) 24 (1) 43-48pp.