The spatial dissemination of three prevalent taxa of sooty blotch and flyspeck (SBFS) fungi under several levels of precipitation was compared during 2015 and 2016 in an Iowa apple orchard. Overhead irrigation was used to supplement ambient precipitation in order to insure SBFS spore dissemination and colony development. There were five irrigation levels, involving 1-min-long periods of irrigation that were imposed either once or twice per hour at intervals of 3, 6, or 12 h, as well as a nonirrigated control. Preselected apple fruit were inoculated with one of the three SBFS taxa to serve as sources of inoculum. Dissemination from these inoculated apple fruit was assessed at harvest by counting SBFS colonies on water-sprayed and nontreated fruit. As a further control, additional fruit were enclosed in fruit bags throughout the fruit development period. In both 2015 and 2016, the number of colonies of the SBFS fungus Peltaster gemmifer per apple increased sharply as the duration of irrigation increased, whereas the number of colonies of Microcyclosporella mali increased to a lesser extent and Stomiopeltis sp. RS1 showed no increase. In 2015, the linear relationship between the duration of irrigation-imposed precipitation levels and the number of colonies on the water-sprayed apple fruit was similar for P. gemmifer (slope = 0.09), Stomiopeltis sp. RS1 (slope = 0.07), and Microcyclosporella mali (slope = 0.13); whereas, in 2016, the slope was higher for P. gemmifer (0.28) than for Stomiopeltis sp. RS1 (-0.09) or M. mali (0.06). The results indicated that dissemination of P. gemmifer increased sharply in response to increased irrigation-imposed precipitation, and that dissemination patterns differed considerably among the three SBFS taxa. The apparent advantage of P. gemmifer in precipitation-triggered dissemination may stem from its ability to produce spores rapidly by budding. To our knowledge, this is the first article to assess splash dispersal by SBFS fungi in the field and the first to document taxon-specific patterns of dissemination in this pathogen complex.
Guava (Psidium guajava L.) is an economically important fruit crop in Malaysia with annual production of 67,087 tons in 2018 (FAO 2018). In February 2019, fruit rot symptoms were observed postharvest on approximately 30% of guava cv. Lohan collected from a commercial orchard in the Rawang district (3°23'22.8"N 101°26'55.7"E) of Selangor province, Malaysia. Symptoms on the fruits appeared as small, circular brown spots (ranging 5 to 20 mm in diameter) that coalesced and rapidly expanded to cover the entire fruit. Severely infected fruits became soft and rotted. Ten diseased guava fruits were collected from the sampling location. Small pieces (5x5x5 mm) of symptomatic fruit tissues were excised from the lesion margin, surface-sterilized with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) for 1 min, rinsed twice with sterile distilled water, plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 25 °C for 5 days. A Scytalidium-like fungus was consistently isolated from symptomatic tissues on PDA after 4 days. For morphological identification, single-spore cultures were grown on PDA at 25 °C and a representative isolate LB1 was characterized further. The fungal colonies were initially white, powdery, and later turned grayish-black with the onset of sporulation. The mycelia were branched with septa, pigmented, and brown in color. Fungal colonies produced dark-brown arthroconidia with thick-walled, 0 to 1-septa, averaged 9 μm x 5 μm (n=20), and cylindrical to oblong in shape. For molecular identification, genomic DNA was extracted from fresh mycelium of isolate LB1 using DNeasy Plant Mini kit (Qiagen, Germantown, MD, USA). The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA and translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1-α) gene were amplified using ITS5/ITS4 (White et al. 1990) and EF1-728F/EF1-986R primer set (Carbone and Kohn 1999), respectively. Both ITS (954 bp) and TEF1-α (412 bp) sequences exhibited 100% identity to Neoscytalidium dimidiatum with GenBank accession numbers FM211432 and MK495414, respectively. The resulting sequences were deposited in GenBank (ITS: Accession no. MT565490; TEF1-α Accession no. MT572846). Based on the morphological and molecular data, the pathogen was identified as N. dimidiatum (Penz.) Crous & Slippers (Crous et al. 2006). A pathogenicity test was conducted on 5 healthy detached mature guava fruits cv. Lohan by wound-inoculating using a sterile needle and pipetting 10-µl of a conidial suspension (1 × 106 conidia/ml) of isolate LB1 to the wound. Five additional fruits were wounded and pipetted 10-µl sterile distilled water to serve as controls. Inoculated fruits were placed in sterilized plastic container and incubated at 25 ± 1 °C, 90% relative humidity with a photoperiod of 12 h, and the experiment was conducted twice. All inoculated fruits developed symptoms as described above 4 to 7 days post-inoculation, while the control fruits remained asymptomatic. N. dimidiatum was re-isolated from all symptomatic tissues confirming Koch's postulates. N. dimidiatum has been reported causing brown spot disease on pitaya (Lan et al. 2012), and stem canker on dragon fruit in Malaysia and Florida (Mohd et al. 2013; Sanahuja et al. 2016) but this is the first report of N. dimidiatum causing postharvest fruit rot on guava in Malaysia. This disease can cause significant postharvest losses to guava production which could lower marketable yield and proper control strategies should be implemented.
Dragon fruit (Hylocereus polyrhizus) is a high value newly introduced fruit crop in Bangladesh. It has drawn considerable public attention due to its appealing flesh color, sweet taste and fruit qualities. Recently, basal rot of dragon fruit plants was observed in several farmer's fields, nurseries and in the research field of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) where about 10-15% of plants were infected in each location. Initially, the symptoms appeared in the basal part near the soil as brown lesions which gradually extended to the upper stem and finally becoming soft and watery (Figure 1a). Infected plants were collected from Kapasia of Gazipur district (Latitude 24.266 and Longitude 90.633) to isolate the causal organism. Isolations were carried out following the procedure reported by Briste et al. (2019). Briefly, infected plant parts were surface sterilized in 2% NaOCl for 1 min followed by 70% ethanol for 5 min and rinsed 3 times with sterile double distilled water. A large piece of a surface sterilized plant was cut into small pieces (2 mm × 2 mm) from the margin of the necrotic lesion and placed on half strength potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated for 7 days at 25 °C. The BTFD1 and BTFD4 isolates were purified from single spores resulting in white colonies with a growth rate of 1cm/day on PDA (Figure 1b). Colonies produced single celled microconidia from unbranched, short monophialidic conidiophores and septate macroconidia as well as chlamydospores in PDA which is consistent with Fusarium oxysporum (Figure 1c). To confirm the identity of the isolates, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1, 5.8S rRNA and ITS2) and translation elongation factor-1alpha (EF-1α) were amplified using primers ITS-1/ ITS-4 and EF1-728F/ EF1-986R, respectively (Surovy et al. 2018). The ITS sequences of the isolates BTFD1 and BTFD4 (GenBank accession # MN727096 and MN727095, respectively) showed 100% similarity with the sequence from F. oxysporum strain JJF2 (MN626452). Sequence identity for EF-1α (GenBank accession # MN752123 and MN752124, respectively) was 100% with the sequence from F. oxysporum strain CAV041_EO (MK783088). The isolates (BTFD1 and BTFD4) were identified as F. oxysporum based on the aligned sequences of ITS and EF-1α, molecular phylogenetic analyses by maximum likelihood tree (Figure 2a) and maximum parsimony tree methods (Figure 2b). The isolates were stored at 4°C on dried filter paper as well as in an ultra-low temperature freezer (-80°C) at IBGE, BSMRAU, Bangladesh and are available on request. To ensure pathogenicity, isolate BTFD1 was grown on PDA, incubated at 25°C for 7 days and 250 ml conidial suspension (with 1 × 105 conidia/ml) was prepared. Twelve,three-month-old healthy dragon fruit plants were inoculated. Pathogenicity tests were carried out in two sets using three replications in each set. In one set, only the basal part of the plants was dipped into the conidial suspension and in another set the whole plant was dipped into the conidial suspension for two hours. Sterile distilled water was also used in another set of plants as a control. The inoculated plants were placed on wet tissue in a plastic box (31cm × 24cm × 8cm) covered and incubated at 25°C. After 10 days, all inoculated plants in both sets developed rot symptoms similar to those observed in the field, while the control plants remained healthy (Figure 1d). The pathogen was successfully re-isolated from the inoculated symptomatic parts on half strength PDA medium and had morphology as characterized before, thus fulfilling Koch's postulates. This disease has been reported in Argentina and Malaysia (Wright et al. 2007; Hafifi et al. 2019). To the bet of our knowledge, this is the first report of Fusarium basal rot of dragon fruit in Bangladesh caused by F. oxysporum.
Pears (Pyrus pylifolia L.) are cultivated nationwide as one of the most economically important fruit trees in Korea. At the end of October 2019, bleeding canker was observed in a pear orchard located in Naju, Jeonnam Province (34°53'50.54″ N, 126°39'00.32″ E). The canker was observed on trunks and branches of two 25-year-old trees, and the diseased trunks and branches displayed partial die-back or complete death. When the bark was peeled off from the diseased trunks or branches, brown spots or red streaks were found in the trees. Bacterial ooze showed a rusty color and the lesion was sap-filled with a yeasty smell. Trunks displaying bleeding symptoms were collected from two trees. Infected bark tissues (3 × 3 mm) from the samples were immersed in 70% ethanol for 1 minute, rinsed three times in sterilized water, ground to fine powder using a mortar and pestle, and suspended in sterilized water. After streaking each suspension on Luria-Bertani (LB) agar, the plates were incubated at 25°C without light for 2 days. Small yellow-white bacterial colonies with irregular margins were predominantly obtained from all the samples. Three representative isolates (ECM-1, ECM-2 and ECM-3) were subjected to further characterization. These isolates were cultivated at 39 C, and utilized (-)-D-arabinose, (+) melibiose, (+)raffinose, mannitol and myo-inositol but not 5-keto-D-gluconate, -gentiobiose, or casein. These isolates were identified as Dickeya sp. based on the sequence of 16S rRNA (MT820458-820460) gene amplified using primers 27f and 1492r (Heuer et al. 2000). The 16S rRNA sequences matched with D. fangzhongdai strain ND14b (99.93%; CP009460.1) and D. fangzhongdai strain PA1(99.86%; CP020872.1). The recA, fusA, gapA, purA, rplB, and dnaX genes and the intergenic spacer (IGS) regions were also sequenced as described in Van der wolf et al. (2014). The recA (MT820437-820439), fusA (MT820440-820442), gapA (MT820443-820445), purA (MT820446-820448), rplB (MT820449-820451), dnaX (MT820452-820454) and IGS (MT820455-820457) sequences matched with D. fangzhongdai strains JS5, LN1 and QZH3 (KT992693-992695, KT992697-992699, KT992701-992703, KT992705-992707, KT992709-992711, KT992713-992715, and KT992717-992719, respectively). A neighbor-joining phylogenetic analysis based on the concatenated recA, fusA, gapA, purA, rplB, dnaX and IGS sequences placed the representative isolates within a clade comprising D. fangzhongdai. ECM-1 to 3 were grouped into a clade with one strain isolated from waterfall, D. fangzhongdai ND14b from Malaysia. Pathogenicity test was performed using isolate ECM-1. Three two-year-old branches and flower buds on 10-year-old pear tree (cv. Nittaka), grown at the National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science Pear Research Institute (Naju, Jeonnam Province in Korea), were inoculated with 10 μl and 2 μl of a bacterial suspension (108 cfu/ml), respectively, after wounding inoculation site with a sterile scalpel (for branch) or injecting with syringe (for flower bud). Control plants were inoculated with water. Inoculated branches and buds in a plastic bag were placed in a 30℃ incubator without light for 2 days (Chen et al. 2020). Both colorless and transparent bacterial ooze and typical bleeding canker were observed on both branches and buds at 3 and 2 weeks post inoculation, respectively. No symptoms were observed on control branches and buds. This pathogenicity assay was conducted three times. We reisolated three colonies from samples displaying the typical symptoms and checked the identity of one by sequencing the dnaX locus. Dickeya fangzhongdai has been reported to cause bleeding canker on pears in China (Tian et al. 2016; Chen et al. 2020). This study will contribute to facilitate identification and control strategies of this disease in Korea. This is the first report of D. fangzhongdai causing bleeding canker on pears in Korea.
Fusarium wilt disease incited by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (FON) is the utmost devastating soil-inhabiting fungal pathogen limiting watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) production in Malaysia and globally. The field disease survey of fusarium wilt was carried out during December 2019 and November 2020, in three major production areas (3 farmer fields per location) in Peninsular Malaysia namely, Mersing, Serdang and Kuantan and disease incidence of 30 and 45%, was recorded for each year, respectively. Infected watermelon plants showed symptoms such as vascular discoloration, brown necrotic lesions to the soil line or the crown, one-sided wilt of a plant, or a runner or the whole plant. Infected root and stem tissues, 1-2 cm pieces were surface sterilized with 0.6% NaOCl for 1 minute followed by double washing with sterile water. The disinfected tissues were air-dried and transferred onto semi-selective Komada's medium (Komada 1975) and incubated for 5 days. The fungal colonies produced were placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) to attain a pure culture and incubated at 25±2℃ for 15 days. The pure fungal colony was flat, round and light purple in color. Macroconidia were straight to slightly curved, 18.56-42.22 µm in length, 2.69-4.08 µm width, predominantly 3 septate and formed in sporodochia. Microconidia measured 6.16-10.86 µm in length and 2.49-3.83 µm in width, kidney-shaped, aseptate and were formed on short monophialides in false-heads. Chlamydospores were single or in pairs with smooth or rough walls, found both terminally or intercalary. To confirm their pathogenicity, two-week-old watermelon seedlings (cv. NEW BEAUTY) were dipped into spore suspension (1 ˟ 106 spores/ml) of representative isolates of JO20 (Mersing), UPM4 (Serdang) and KU41 (Kuantan) for 30 second and then moved into 10 cm diameter plastic pots containing 300 g sterilized soil mix. Disease symptoms were assessed weekly for one month. Control seedlings were immersed in sterile distilled water before transplanting. The inoculated seedlings showed typical Fusarium wilt symptoms like yellowing, stunted growth, and wilting, which is similar to the farmer field infected plants. However, the seedlings inoculated by sterile distilled water remained asymptomatic. The pathogen was successfully re-isolated from the infected seedlings onto Komada's medium, fulfilling the Koch's postulate. For the PCR amplification, primers EF-1 and EF-2 were used to amplify the tef1-α region. A Blastn analysis of the tef1-α sequences of the isolates JO20 (accession nos. MW315902), UPM4 (MW839560) and KU41 (MW839562) showed 100% similarity; with e-value of zero, to the reference sequences of F. oxysporum isolate FJAT-31690 (MN507110) and F. oxysporum f. sp. niveum isolate FON2 790-2 (MN057702). In Fusarium MLST database, isolates JO20, UPM4 and KU41 revealed 100% identity with the reference isolate of NRRL 22518 (accession no. FJ985265). Though isolate FJ985265 belongs to the f. sp. melonis, earlier findings had revealed Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. are naturally polyphyletic and making clusters with diverse groups of the Fusarium oxysporum species complex (O'Donnell et al. 2015). The isolates JO20, UPM4 and KU41 were identified as F. oxysporum f. sp. niveum based on the aligned sequences of tef1-α and molecular phylogenetic exploration by the maximum likelihood method. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of F. oxysporum f. sp. niveum as a causative pathogen of Fusarium wilt disease of watermelon in Malaysia. Malaysia enables to export watermelon all-year-round in different countries like Singapore, Hong-Kong, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Netherlands. The outburst of this destructive soil-borne fungal pathogen could cause hindrance to watermelon cultivation in Malaysia. Thus, growers need to choice multiple management tactics such as resistant varieties, cultural practices (soil amendments and solarization), grafting, cover crops and fungicide application to control this new pathogen.
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) accounts for almost 13% of all tropical fresh fruit production in Malaysia. They are grown, mostly in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, and Terengganu areas of Malaysia on 10,406 ha and yielding 172,722 Mt. In 2019, a new fruit rot disease was observed in two major production areas in Peninsular Malaysia. Disease symptoms included water-soaked brown lesions on the fruit surface in contact with the soil. The lesions enlarged gradually and ultimately covered the whole fruit with white mycelium leading to internal fruit decay. Disease surveys were conducted in December 2019 and November 2020 in fields at Kuantan, Pahang and Serdang, Selangor. Disease incidence was 10% in 2019 and 15% in 2020. Infected fruits were collected and washed under running tap water to wash off adhering soil and debris. Fruit tissue sections 1 to 2 cm in length were surface sanitized with 0.6% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) for 3 min. and washed twice with sterile distilled water. The disinfected air-dried tissues were then transferred onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) media and incubated at 25±2℃ for 3 days. Fungal colonies with whitish mycelium and pink pigment isolated using single spore culture. The pure cultures were placed onto carnation leaf agar (CLA), and the culture plates were incubated at 25±2℃ for 15 days for morphological characterization. On CLA, macroconidia were produced from monophialides on branched conidiophores in orange sporodochia. Macroconindia were thick-walled, strong dorsiventral curvature, 5 to 7 septate with a tapered whip-liked pointed apical cell and characteristic foot-shaped basal cell, 21.9 to 50.98 μm long and 2.3 to 3.60 μm wide. Typical verrucose thick chlamydospores with rough walls were profuse in chains or clumps, sub-globose or ellipsoidal. Based on morphological characteristics they were identified as Fusarium equiseti (Leslie and Summerell 2006). Molecular identification of both U4-1 and N9-1 pure culture isolates were carried out using two primer pair sets; internal transcribed spacer (ITS) ITS-1/ ITS-4 and translation elongation factor 1 alpha (TEF1-α) (EF-1/EF-2). A Blastn analysis of the ITS gene sequence of U4-1(MW362286) and N9-1 (MW362287) showed >99% similarity index to the reference gene sequence of F. equiseti isolate 19MSr-B3-4 (LC514690). The TEF1-α sequences of U4-1 (accession no. MW839563) and N9-1 (accession no. MW839564) showed 100% identity; with an e-value of zero, to the reference gene sequence of F. equiseti isolate URM: 7561 (accession no. LS398490). Each isolate also had a >99% identity with isolate NRRL 34070 (accession no. GQ505642) in Fusarium MLST database that belongs to the F. incarnatum-equiseti species complex (O'Donnell et al. 2015). Based on phylogenetic analysis of the aligned sequences (TEF1-α) by the maximum likelihood method, the U4-1 and N9-1 isolates were confirmed to be F. equiseti as was reported in Georgia, USA (Li and Ji 2015) and in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China (Li et al. 2018). Finally, the two pure culture isolates of U4-1 and N9-1 were used to fulfill Koch's postulates. Stab inoculations of five healthy watermelon fruits (cv. 345-F1 hybrid seedless round watermelon) were performed with a microconidial suspension of individual isolates (4x106 spores/mL). Five control fruits were stabbed with double distilled water. The inoculated fruits were incubated under 95% relative humidity at a temperature of 25±2℃ for 48 h followed by additional incubation inside an incubator at 25±2℃ for 8 days. Ten days post-inoculation, the control fruits showed no disease symptoms. However, inoculated fruits exhibited typical symptoms of fruit rot disease like water-soaked brown lesions, white mycelium on the fruit surface and internal fruit decay, which is similar to the farmer's field infected fruits. The suspected pathogen was successfully re-isolated from the symptomatic portion of inoculated fruit and morphologically identified for verification. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. equiseti causing fruit rot of watermelon in Malaysia. Malaysia exports watermelon year-round to many countries around the world. The outbreak of this new fruit rot disease could potentially pose a concern to watermelon cultivation in Malaysia.
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating aquatic plant and is also widely cultivated as an aquatic ornamental plant in Malaysia. In June 2018, a severe foliar disease with typical leaf blight symptoms were observed on leaves of water hyacinth plants (approximately 50%) in waterways adjacent to two rice fields located at Tanjung Karang and Sungai Besar, Selangor province, Malaysia. Symptoms appeared irregular necrotic lesions with concentric rings, later lesions expanded to entire leaves and became blighted. Twenty symptomatic leaves were collected from two sampling locations. Symptomatic leaf tissue was cut into small pieces (5 × 5 mm), surface sterilized with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) for 2 min, rinsed three times with sterile distilled water, plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated at 25 °C with a 12-h light/dark cycle for 7 days. Twenty single-spore isolates were recovered from sampled leaves, all isolates exhibited Paramyrothecium-like morphology and two representative isolates, PR1 and PR2 were used for further studies. Fungal colonies were initially white aerial mycelia with sporodochia bearing olivaceous green conidial masses formed on PDA after 5 days of incubation. Conidiogenous cells were phialidic, hyaline, smooth, straight to slightly curved, 13 to 20 × 1.0 to 1.8 μm and setae were absent. Conidia were aseptate, hyaline to pale green, smooth, cylindrical to ellipsoidal with rounded ends, and measured 5.8 to 8.0 μm × 1.8 to 2.2 μm (n=50). These morphological characteristics were consistent with the description of Paramyrothecium roridum (Tode) L. Lombard & Crous (Lombard et al. 2016). Total genomic DNA of the isolates was extracted from fresh mycelium using DNeasy Plant Mini kit (Qiagen, USA). The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and calmodulin (cmdA) gene regions were amplified using the ITS5/ITS4 (White et al.1990) and CAL-228F/CAL2Rd primer sets (Carbone and Kohn 1999; Groenewald et al., 2013), respectively. BLASTn analysis showed that the ITS and cmdA sequences of the isolates were 100% identity with Paramyrothecium roridum ex-epitype strain CBS 357.89 (GenBank accession nos. KU846300 and KU846270), respectively. The resulting sequences were deposited in GenBank (ITS: Accession nos. MW850370, MW850371; cmdA Accession nos. MW854363, MW854364). Pathogenicity tests of the two isolates were performed by spray inoculation on healthy leaves of each five potted water hyacinth plants using a 3-ml conidial suspension (1 × 106 conidia/ml) produced on 7-day-old PDA cultures incubated at 25 °C with a 12-h light/dark cycle. Five potted water hyacinth plants inoculated with sterile water served as controls. Inoculated plants were covered with plastic bags for 48 h to maintain high humidity and kept in a growth chamber for 2 weeks at 25 ± 1°C, 95% relative humidity and a 12-h light/dark period. The experiment was repeated twice. Eight days post-inoculation, symptoms on inoculated leaves developed necrotic brown lesions similar to those observed in the field, while control leaves remained asymptomatic. After 2 weeks of inoculation, lesions enlarged into severe blighting until all leaves died. Paramyrothecium roridum was re-isolated from randomly selected symptomatic tissues and verified by morphology and sequencing of ITS (MZ675387, MZ706462) and cmdA (MZ686706, MZ712041) loci, confirming Koch's postulates. The fungus was not re-isolated from non-inoculated control plants. Pa. roridum is distributed on a wide range of plants (Farr and Rossman 2021) and has been reported to cause leaf spot of water hyacinth in Nigeria (Okunowo et al. 2013) and Sri Lanka (Adikaram and Yakandawala 2020). To our knowledge, this is the first report of Pa. roridum causing leaf blight of water hyacinth in Malaysia. This disease is an emerging threat to water hyacinth and it reduces the leaf quality, therefore, appropriate management should be developed to control this disease.
Dendrobium (Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl.) is a perennial herb in the Orchidaceae family. It has been used as traditional medicinal plant in China, Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand (2). Fungal disease is one of the most important factors affecting the development of Dendrobium production. During summer 2012, chocolate brown spots were observed on leaves of 2-year-old Dendrobium seedlings in a greenhouse in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, situated at 30.26°N and 120.19°E. Approximately 80% of the plants in each greenhouse were symptomatic. Diseased leaves exhibited irregular, chocolate brown, and necrotic lesions with a chlorotic halo, reaching 0.8 to 3.2 cm in diameter. Affected leaves began to senesce and withered in autumn, and all leaves of diseased plants fell off in the following spring. Symptomatic leaf tissues were cut into small pieces (4 to 5 mm long), surface-sterilized (immersed in 75% ethanol for 30 s, and then 1% sodium hypochlorite for 60 s), rinsed three times in sterilized distilled water, and then cultured on potato dextrose agar (PDA) amended with 30 mg/liter of kanamycin sulfate (dissolved in ddH2O). Petri plates were incubated in darkness at 25 ± 0.5°C, and a grey mycelium with a white border developed after 4 days. Fast-growing white mycelia were isolated from symptomatic leaf samples, and the mycelia became gray-brown with the onset of sporulation after 5 days. Conidia were unicellular, black, elliptical, and 11.4 to 14.3 μm (average 13.1 μm) in diameter. Based on these morphological and pathogenic characteristics, the isolates were tentatively identified as Nigrospora oryzae (1). Genomic DNA was extracted from a representative isolate F12-F, and a ~600-bp fragment was amplified and sequenced using the primers ITS1 and ITS4 (4). BLAST analysis showed that F12-F ITS sequence (Accession No. KF516962) had 99% similarity with the ITS sequence of an N. oryzae isolate (JQ863242.1). Healthy Dendrobium seedlings (4 months old) were used in pathogenicity tests under greenhouse conditions. Leaves were inoculated with mycelial plugs (5 mm in diameter) from a 5-day-old culture of strain F12-F, and sterile PDA plugs served as controls. Seedlings were covered with plastic bags for 5 days and maintained at 25 ± 0.5°C and 80 ± 5% relative humidity. Eight seedlings were used in each experiment, which was repeated three times. After 5 days, typical chocolate brown spots and black lesions were observed on inoculated leaves, whereas no symptoms developed on controls, which fulfilled Koch's postulates. This shows that N. oryzae can cause leaf spot of D. candidum. N. oryzae is a known pathogen for several hosts but has not been previously reported on any species of Dendrobium in China (3). To our knowledge, on the basis of literature, this is the first report of leaf spot of D. candidum caused by N. oryzae in China. References: (1) H. J. Hudson. Trans. Br. Mycol. Soc. 46:355, 1963. (2) Q. Jin et al. PLoS One. 8(4):e62352, 2013. (3) P. Sharma et al. J. Phytopathol. 161:439, 2013. (4) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, 1990.
Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is an important crop in tropical regions of China. In October 2013, a new stem rot disease was found on cv. Yunyan77-4 at a rubber tree plantation in Hekou, Yunnan Province. There were about 100 plants, and diseased rubber trees accounted for 30% or less. Initially, brown-punctuate secretion appeared on the stem, which was 5 to 6 cm above the ground. Eventually, the secretion became black and no latex produced from the rubber tree bark. After removing the secretion, the diseased bark was brown putrescence, but the circumambient bark was normal. Upon peeling the surface bark, the inner bark and xylem had brown rot and was musty. The junction between health and disease was undulate. On the two most serious plants, parts of leaves on the crown were yellow, and the root near the diseased stem was dry and puce. The pathogen was isolated and designated HbFO01; the pathogenicity was established by following Koch's postulates. The pathogen was cultivated on a potato dextrose agar (PDA) plate at 28°C for 4 days. Ten plants of rubber tree cv. Yunyan77-4 were selected from a disease-free plantation in Haikou, Hainan Province, and the stem diameter was about 7 cm. The bark of five plants was peeled, and one mycelium disk with a diameter of 1 cm was inserted into the cut and covered again with the bark. The other five plants were treated with agar disks as controls. The inoculation site was kept moist for 2 days, and then the mycelium and agar disk were removed. On eighth day, symptoms similar to the original stem lesions were observed on stems of inoculated plants, while only scars formed on stems of control plants. The pathogen was re-isolated from the lesions of inoculated plants. On PDA plates, the pathogen colony was circular and white with tidy edges and rich aerial hyphae. Microscopic examination showed microconidia and chlamydospores were produced abundantly on PDA medium. The falciform macroconidia were only produced on lesions and were slightly curved, with a curved apical cell and foot shaped to pointed basal cell, usually 3-septate, 16.2 to 24.2 × 3.2 to 4.0 μm. Microconidia were produced in false heads, oval, 0-septate, 6.2 to 8.2 × 3.3 to 3.8 μm, and the phialide was cylindrical. Chlamydospores were oval, 6.4 to 7.2 × 3.1 to 3.8 μm, alone produced in hypha. Morphological characteristics of the specimen were similar to the descriptions for Fusarium oxysporum (2). Genomic DNA of this isolate was extracted with a CTAB protocol (4) from mycelium and used as a template for amplification of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA with primer pair ITS1/ITS4 (1). The full length of this sequence is 503 nt (GenBank Accession No. KJ009335), which exactly matched several sequences (e.g., JF807394.1, JX897002.1, and HQ451888.1) of F. oxysporum. Williams and Liu had listed F. oxysporum as the economically important pathogen of Hevea in Asia (3), while this is, to our knowledge, the first report of stem rot caused by F. oxysporum on rubber tree in China. References: (1) D. E. L. Cooke et al. Fungal Genet. Biol. 30:17, 2000. (2) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual, 2006. (3) T. H. Williams and P. S. W. Liu. A host list of plant diseases in Sabah, Malaysia, 1976. (4) J. R. Xu et al. Genetics 143:175, 1996.
Hylocereus undatus widely grows in southern China. Some varieties are planted for their fruits, known as dragon fruits or Pitaya, while some varieties for their flowers known as Bawanghua. Fresh or dried flowers of Bawanghua are used as routine Chinese medicinal food. Since 2008, a serious anthracnose disease has led to great losses on Bawanghua flower production farms in the Baiyun district of Guangzhou city in China. Anthracnose symptoms on young stems of Bawanghua are reddish-brown, sunken lesions with pink masses of spores in the center. The lesions expand rapidly in the field or in storage, and may coalesce in the warm and wet environment in spring and summer in Guangzhou. Fewer flowers develop on infected stems than on healthy ones. The fungus overwinters in infected debris in the soil. The disease caused a loss of up to 50% on Bawanghua. Putative pathogenic fungi with whitish-orange colonies were isolated from a small piece of tissue (3 × 3 mm) cut from a lesion margin and cultured on potato dextrose agar in a growth chamber at 25°C, 80% RH. Dark colonies with acervuli bearing pinkish conidial masses formed 14 days later. Single celled conidia were 11 to 18 × 4 to 6 μm. Based on these morphological characteristics, the fungi were identified as Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz. & Sacc (2). To confirm this, DNA was extracted from isolate BWH1 and multilocus analyses were completed with DNA sequence data generated from partial ITS region of nrDNA, actin (ACT) and glutamine synthetase (GS) nucleotide sequences by PCR, with C. gloeosporioides specific primers as ITS4 (5'-TCCTCCGCTTATTGATATGC-3') / CgInt (5'-GGCCTCCCGCCTCCGGGCGG-3'), GS-F (5'-ATGGCCGAGTACATCTGG-3') / GS-R (5'-GAACCGTCGAAGTTCCAC-3') and actin-R (5'-ATGTGCAAGGCCGGTTTCGC-3') / actin-F (5'-TACGAGTCCTTCTGGCCCAT-3'). The sequence alignment results indicated that the obtained partial ITS sequence of 468 bp (GenBank Accession No. KF051997), actin sequence of 282 bp (KF712382), and GS sequence of 1,021 bp (KF719176) are 99%, 96%, and 95% identical to JQ676185.1 for partial ITS, FJ907430 for ACT, and FJ972589 for GS of C. gloeosporioides previously deposited, respectively. For testing its pathogenicity, 20 μl of conidia suspension (1 × 106 conidia/ml) using sterile distilled water (SDW) was inoculated into artificial wounds on six healthy young stems of Bawanghua using sterile fine-syringe needle. Meanwhile, 20 μl of SDW was inoculated on six healthy stems as a control. The inoculated stems were kept at 25°C, about 90% relative humidity. Three independent experiments were carried out. Reddish-brown lesions formed after 10 days, on 100% stems (18 in total) inoculated by C. gloeosporioides, while no lesion formed on any control. The pathogen was successfully re-isolated from the inoculated stem lesions on Bawanghua. Thus, Koch's postulates were fulfilled. Colletotrichum anthracnose has been reported on Pitaya in Japan (3), Malaysia (1) and in Brazil (4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of anthracnose disease caused by C. gloeosporioides on young stems of Bawanghua (H. undatus) in China. References: (1) M. Masyahit et al. Am. J. Appl. Sci. 6:902, 2009. (2) B. C. Sutton. Page 402 in: Colletotrichum Biology, Pathology and Control. J. A. Bailey and M. J. Jeger, eds. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, 1992. (3) S. Taba et al. Jpn. J. Phytopathol. 72:25, 2006. (4) L. M. Takahashi et al. Australas. Plant Dis. Notes 3:96, 2008.
During March 2011 to June 2012, 50 banana plants of cultivar Musa × paradisiaca 'Horn' with Moko disease symptoms were randomly sampled in 12 different locations of 5 outbreak states in Peninsular Malaysia comprising Kedah, Selangor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, and Johor, with disease incidence exceeding 90% in some severely affected plantations. The disease symptoms observed in the infected plants included yellowing and wilting of the oldest leaves, which became necrotic, and eventually led to their dieback or collapse. The pulp of banana fruits also became discolored and exuded bacterial ooze. Vascular tissues in pseudostems were discolored. Fragments from symptomatic plant samples were excised and cultured on Kelman's-tetrazolium salt (TZC) medium. Twenty positive samples produced fluidal colonies that were either entirely white or white with pink centers after incubation for 24 to 48 h at 28°C on Kelman's-TZC medium and appeared as gram-negative rods after Gram staining. They were also positive for potassium hydroxide (KOH), Kovacs oxidase, and catalase tests, but negative for utilization of disaccharides and hexose alcohols, which are characteristics of biovar 1 Ralstonia solanacearum. For the pathogenicity test, 30 μl of 108 CFU/ml bacterial suspension of three selected virulent strains were injected into banana (Musa × paradisiaca 'Horn') leaves explants grown in plastic pots of 1,440 cm3 volume in a greenhouse, with temperature range from 26 to 35°C. Leaves that were infiltrated with sterile distilled water served as a negative control. Inoculations with all isolates were performed in three replications, as well as the uninoculated control leaves explants. The inoculated plants produced the same symptoms as observed on naturally diseased samples, whereas control plants remained asymptomatic. Strain cultures were re-isolated and possessed the morphological and biochemical characteristics as previously described. PCR amplification using race 2 R. solanacearum primers ISRso19-F (5'-TGGGAGAGGATGGCGGCTTT-3') and ISRso19-R (5'-TGACCCGCCTTTCGGTGTTT-3') (3) produced a 1,900-bp product from DNA of all bacterial strains. BLAST searches resulted that the sequences were 95 to 98% identical to published R. solanacearum strain race 2 insertion sequence ISRso19 (GenBank Accession No. AF450275). These genes were later deposited in GenBank (KC812051, KC812052, and KC812053). Phylotype-specific multiplex PCR (Pmx-PCR) and Musa-specific multiplex PCR (Mmx-PCR) were performed to identify the phylotype and sequevar of all isolates (4). Pmx-PCR showed that all isolates belonged to phylotype II, whereas Mmx-PCR showed that they belonged to phylotype II sequevar 4 displaying 351-bp amplicon. Although there were previously extensive studies on R. solanacearum associated with bacterial wilt disease of banana crops in Malaysia, none related to Moko disease has been reported (1,2). The result has a great importance to better understand and document R. solanacearum race 2 biovar 1, since banana has been identified as the second most important commercial fruit crop with a high economic value in Malaysia. References: (1) R. Khakvar et al. Plant Pathol. J. 7:162, 2008. (2) R. Khakvar et al. Am. J. Agri. Biol. Sci. 3:490, 2008. (3) Y. A. Lee and C. N. Khor. Plant Pathol. Bull. 12:57, 2003. (4) P. Prior et al. Pages 405-414 in: Bacterial Wilt Disease and the Ralstonia solanacearum Species Complex. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 2005.
The foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata), an Australian native species, is an adaptable and fast-growing landscape tree. The foxtail palm is most commonly used in landscaping in Malaysia. Coconut yellow decline (CYD) is the major disease of coconut associated with 16SrXIV phytoplasma group in Malaysia (1). Symptoms consistent with CYD, such as severe chlorosis, stunting, general decline, and death were observed in foxtail palms from the state of Selangor in Malaysia, indicating putative phytoplasma infection. Symptomatic trees loses their green and vivid appearance as a decorative and landscape ornament. To determine the presence of phytoplasma, samples were collected from the fronds of 12 symptomatic and four asymptomatic palms in September 2012, and total DNA was extracted using the CTAB method (3). Phytoplasma DNA was detected in eight symptomatic palms using nested PCR with universal phytoplasma 16S rDNA primer pairs, P1/P7 followed by R16F2n/R16R2 (2). Amplicons (1.2 kb in length) were generated from symptomatic foxtail palms but not from symptomless plants. Phytoplasma 16S rDNAs were cloned using a TOPO TA cloning kit (Invitrogen). Several white colonies from rDNA PCR products amplified from one sample with R16F2n/R16R2 were sequenced. Phytoplasma 16S rDNA gene sequences from single symptomatic foxtail palms showed 99% homology with a phytoplasma that causes Bermuda grass white leaf (AF248961) and coconut yellow decline (EU636906), which are both members of the 16SrXIV 'Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis' group. The sequences also showed 99% sequence identity with the onion yellows phytoplasma, OY-M strain, (NR074811), from the 'Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris' 16SrI-B subgroup. Sequences were deposited in the NCBI GenBank database (Accession Nos. KC751560 and KC751561). Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis was done on nested PCR products produced with the primer pair R16F2n/R16R2. Amplified products were digested separately with AluI, HhaI, RsaI, and EcoRI restriction enzymes based on manufacturer's specifications. RFLP analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences from symptomatic plants revealed two distinct profiles belonging to groups 16SrXIV and 16SrI with majority of the 16SrXIV group. RFLP results independently corroborated the findings from DNA sequencing. Additional virtual patterns were obtained by iPhyclassifier software (4). Actual and virtual patterns yielded identical profiles, similar to the reference patterns for the 16SrXIV-A and 16SrI-B subgroups. Both the sequence and RFLP results indicated that symptoms in infected foxtail palms were associated with two distinct phytoplasma species in Malaysia. These phytoplasmas, which are members of two different taxonomic groups, were found in symptomatic palms. Our results revealed that popular evergreen foxtail palms are susceptible to and severely affected by phytoplasma. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a mixed infection of a single host, Wodyetia bifurcata, by two different phytoplasma species, Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis and Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris, in Malaysia. References: (1) N. Nejat et al. Plant Pathol. 58:1152, 2009. (2) N. Nejat et al. Plant Pathol. J. 9:101, 2010. (3) Y. P. Zhang et al. J. Virol. Meth. 71:45, 1998. (4) Y. Zhao et al. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 59:2582, 2009.
At least nine Colletotrichum species, particularly Colletotrichum truncatum, have been recorded on legumes worldwide (1). In June 2010, samples of chickpea leaflets showing leaf spot disease symptoms were collected from experimental farms in Ladang Dua, Selangor state of Malaysia. Tan lesions with darker brown borders were observed on leaflets and were associated with premature leaf drop. Stem lesions initially appeared on the lower parts of stems and later progressed higher in the plant. Lesions often girdled the stem and caused severe dieback. Abundant acervuli developed in the lesions visible as black dots. Foliar lesions were removed, surface sterilized in 1% sodium hypochlorite for 2 min, rinsed twice with distilled water, dried on sterilized tissue paper, plated on PDA plates, and incubated at 25°C (3). Three isolates of the fungus were obtained and identified as C. truncatum on the basis of morphological characteristics (2). The isolates were deposited in the University Putra of Malaysia Culture Collection (UPMCC). Colony characteristics on PDA varied from greyish white to dark in color and exhibited mycelial growth with sparse acervuli. The isolates produced both sclerotia and setae in culture. Conidia (mean ± SD = 22 ± 0.83 × 3.6 ± 0.08 μm, L/W ratio = 6.1) produced in acervuli were falcate, hyaline, and aseptate, with tapering towards the acute and greatly curved apex. The conidial mass color varied from pale buff to saffron. Isolates produced simple to slightly lobed, mainly short clavate appressoria (mean ± SD = 9.60 ± 0.36 × 6.67 ± 0.29 μm, L/W ratio = 1.45). Amplification and sequence analysis of coding and none-coding regions of the ITS-rDNA (GenBank Accession JX971160), actin (JX975392), β-tubulin (KC109495), histone (KC109535), chitin synthase (KC109575), and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (KC109615) obtained from the representative isolate, CTM37, aligned with deposited sequences from GenBank and revealed 99 to 100% sequence identity with C. truncatum strains (AJ301945, KC110827, GQ849442, GU228081, GU228359, and HM131501 from GenBank). Isolate CTM37 was used to test pathogenicity in the greenhouse. Five chickpea seeds of cultivar ILC-1929 were sown per pot in four replications. Ten days after seedling emergence, plants were inoculated with a spore suspension (concentration = 106 conidia ml-1) and check pots were sprayed with distilled water. After inoculation, the plants were covered with plastic bags for 48 h and kept at 28 to 33°C and >90% RH. After incubation, the plastic bags were removed and the plants were placed on greenhouse benches and monitored daily for symptom development (3). One week after inoculation, typical anthracnose symptoms developed on the leaves and stems of inoculated plants including acervuli formation, but not on the checks. A fungus with the same colony and conidial morphology as CTM37 was recovered from the lesions on the inoculated plants. The experiment was repeated twice. The ability to accurately diagnose Colletotrichum species is vital for the implementation of effective disease control and quarantine measures. We believe this is the first report of C. truncatum causing anthracnose on chickpea in Malaysia. References: (1) B. D. Gossen et al. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 31:65, 2009. (2) B. C. Sutton. The Genus Glomerella and its anamorph Colletotrichum. CAB International, Wallingford. UK. 1992. (3) P. P. Than et al. Plant Pathol. 57:562, 2008. ERRATUM: A correction was made to this Disease Note on May 19, 2014. The author N. Soleimani was added.
Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa var. sabdariffa, is an annual that is grown primarily for its inflated calyx, which is used for drinks and jellies. It is native from India to Malaysia, but was taken at an early date to Africa and is now widely grown in the tropics and subtropics (2). In late 2005, dying plants were noted by a producer in South Florida. Plants wilted, became chlorotic, and developed generally unthrifty, sparse canopies. Internally, conspicuous vascular discoloration was evident in these plants from the roots into the canopy. After 5 days on one-half-strength potato dextrose agar (PDA), salmon-colored fungal colonies grew almost exclusively from surface-disinfested 5 mm2 pieces of vascular tissue. On banana leaf agar, single-spored strains produced the following microscopic characters of Fusarium oxysporum: copious microconidia on monophialides, infrequent falcate macroconidia, and terminal and intercalary chlamydospores. Partial, elongation factor 1-α (EF1-α) sequences were generated for two of the strains, O-2424 and O-2425, and compared with previously reported sequences for the gene (3). Maximum parsimony analysis of sequences showed that both strains fell in a large, previously described clade of the F. oxysporum complex (FOC) that contained strains from agricultural hosts, as well as human clinical specimens (2; clade 3 in Fig. 4); many of the strains in this clade have identical EF1-α sequences. Strains of F. oxysporum recovered from wilted roselle in Egypt, O-647 and O-648 in the Fusarium Research Center collection, were distantly related to the Florida strains. We are not aware of other strains of F. oxysporum from roselle in other international culture collections. Roselle seedlings were inoculated with O-2424 and O-2425 by placing a mycelial plug (5 mm2, PDA) over a small incision 5 cm above the soil line and then covering the site with Parafilm. Parafilm was removed after 1 week, and plants were incubated under ambient temperatures (20 to 32°C) in full sun for an additional 5 weeks (experiment 1) or 7 weeks (experiment 2). Compared with mock-inoculated (wound + Parafilm) control plants, both O-2424 and O-2425 caused significant (P < 0.05) vascular disease (linear extension of discolored xylem above and below wound site) and wilting (subjective 1 to 5 scale); both isolates were recovered from affected plants. F. oxysporum-induced wilt of roselle has been reported in Nigeria (1) and Malaysia (4) where the subspecific epithet f. sp. rosellae was used for the pathogen. We are not aware of reports of this disease elsewhere. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. oxysporum-induced wilt of roselle in the United States. Research to determine whether the closely related strains in clade 3 of the FOC are generalist plant pathogens (i.e., not formae speciales) is warranted. References: (1) N. A. Amusa et al. Plant Pathol. J. 4:122, 2005. (2) J. Morton. Pages 81-286 in: Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resource Systems, Inc., Winterville, NC, 1987. (3) K. O'Donnell et al. J. Clin. Microbiol. 42:5109, 2004. (4) K. H. Ooi and B. Salleh. Biotropia 12:31, 1999.
A stem canker disease on rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) and litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn. (Sapindaceae) was found in plants in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. A fungus associated with cankers was identified as Dolabra nepheliae C. Booth & Ting (1). Numerous black, stipitate, elongate ascomata were produced within cracks of cankers. These ascomata contain elongate, bitunicate asci amid unbranched, interthecial elements and thin, cylindrical, hyaline ascospores measuring 96 to 136 × 2.5 to 3.5 μm. This fungus was originally described from Malaysia on N. lappaceum (1) and is also known on pulasan (N. mutabile Blume) in Australia (2). Classified by the Food and Agriculture Organization as a 'minor disease', the canker appears to be relatively common in Hawaii and was most likely introduced into Puerto Rico on imported germplasm. Nevertheless, efforts are underway to study the potential damage of this disease as well as mechanisms of control, including introduction of disease resistant clones. Specimens have been deposited at the U.S. National Fungus Collections (Hawaii on Nephelium BPI 878189, Puerto Rico (PR) on Nephelium BPI 878188, and PR on Litchi BPI 878190). Although a specimen of D. nepheliae on L. chinensis was collected from Hawaii in 1984 by G. Wong and C. Hodges and deposited as BPI 626373, this fungus was not known on Nephelium spp. in Hawaii and was not previously known from Puerto Rico on either host. References: (1) C. Booth and W. P. Ting. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 47:235, 1964. (2) T. K. Lim and Y. Diczbalis. Rambutan. Page 306 in: The New Rural Industries. Online publication. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australia, 1997.
Whitefly-transmitted, cucurbit-infecting begomoviruses (genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae) have been detected on cucurbit crops in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam. Pumpkin plants showing leaf curling, blistering, and yellowing symptoms were observed in the AVRDC fields (Tainan, Taiwan) during 2001 and in nearby farmers' fields during 2005. Two samples from symptomatic plants were collected in 2001 and six collected in 2005. Viral DNAs were extracted (2), and the PCR, with previously described primers, was used to detect the presence of begomoviral DNA-A (4), DNA-B (3), and associated satellite DNA (1). Begomoviral DNA-A was detected in one of the 2001 samples and in all 2005 samples. The PCR-amplified 1.5 kb viral DNA-A from one positive sample each from the 2001 and 2005 collections was cloned and sequenced. On the basis of the 1.5-kb DNA-A sequences, specific primers were designed to completely sequence the DNA-A component. The overlap between fragments obtained using primer walking ranged from 43 to 119 bp with 100% nt identities. The complete DNA-A sequences were determined for the two isolates as 2,734 bp (2001) (GenBank Accession No. DQ866135) and 2,733 bp (2005) (GenBank Accession No. EF199774). Sequence comparisons and analyses were performed using the DNAMAN Sequence Analysis Software (Lynnon Corporation, Vaudreuil, Quebec, Canada). The DNA-A of the begomovirus isolates each contained the conserved nanosequence-TAATATTAC and six open reading frames, including two in the virus sense and four in the complementary sense. On the basis of a 99% shared nucleotide sequence identity, they are considered isolates of the same species. BLASTn analysis and a comparison of the sequence with others available in the GenBank database ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ) indicated that the Taiwan virus shared its highest nt identity (more than 95%) with the Squash leaf curl Philippines virus (GenBank Accession No. AB085793). Virus-associated satellite DNA was not found in any of the samples. DNA-B was found in both samples, providing further evidence that the virus was the same as the bipartite Squash leaf curl Philippines virus. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Squash leaf curl Philippines virus in Taiwan. References: (1) R. W. Briddon et al. Virology 312:106, 2003. (2) R. L. Gilbertson et al. J. Gen. Virol. 72:2843, 1991. (3) S. K. Green et al. Plant Dis. 85:1286, 2001. (4) M. R. Rojas et al. Plant Dis. 77:340, 1993.
Mango (Mangifera indica L.; family Anacardiaceae) is one of the world's most important fruit crops and is widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Since 2001, a leaf spot disease was found in mango orchards of Taiwan. Now, the disease was observed throughout (approximately 21,000 ha) Taiwan in moderate to severe form, thus affecting the general health of mango trees and orchards. Initial symptoms were small, yellow-to-brown spots on leaves. Later, the irregularly shaped spots, ranging from a few millimeters to a few centimeters in diameter, turned white to gray and coalesced to form larger gray patches. Lesions had slightly raised dark margins. On mature lesions, numerous black acervuli, measuring 290 to 328 μm in diameter, developed on the gray necrotic areas. Single conidial isolates of the fungus were identified morphologically as Pestalotiopsis mangiferae (Henn.) Steyaert (2,3) and were consistently isolated from the diseased mango leaves on acidified (0.06% lactic acid) potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium incubated at 25 ± 1°C. Initially, the fungus grew (3 mm per day) on PDA as a white, chalky colony that subsequently turned gray after 2 weeks. Acervuli developed in culture after continuous exposure to light for 9 to 12 days at 20 to 30°C. Abundant conidia oozed from the acervulus as a creamy mass. The conidia (17.6 to 25.4 μm long and 4.8 to 7.1 μm wide) were fusiform and usually straight to slightly curved with four septa. Three median cells were olivaceous and larger than the hyaline apical and basal cells. The apical cells bore three (rarely four) cylindrical appendages. Pathogenicity tests were conducted with either 3-day-old mycelial discs or conidial suspension (105 conidia per ml) obtained from 8- to 10-day-old cultures. Four leaves on each of 10 trees were inoculated. Before inoculation, the leaves were washed with a mild detergent, rinsed with tap water, and then surface sterilized with 70% ethanol. Leaves were wounded with a needle and exposed to either a 5-mm mycelial disc or 0.2 ml of the spore suspension. The inoculated areas were wrapped with cotton pads saturated with sterile water and the leaves were covered with polyethylene bags for 3 days to maintain high relative humidity. Wounded leaves inoculated with PDA discs alone served as controls. The symptoms described above were observed on all inoculated leaves, whereas uninoculated leaves remained completely free from symptoms. Reisolation from the inoculated leaves consistently yielded P. mangiferae, thus fulfilling Koch's postulates. Gray leaf spot is a common disease of mangos in the tropics and is widely distributed in Africa and Asia (1-3); however, to our knowledge, this is the first report of gray leaf spot disease affecting mango in Taiwan. References: (1) T. K. Lim and K. C. Khoo. Diseases and Disorders of Mango in Malaysia. Tropical Press. Malaysia, 1985. (2) J. E. M. Mordue. No. 676 in: CMI Descriptions of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria. Surrey, England, 1980. (3) R. C. Ploetz et al. Compendium of Tropical Fruit Diseases. The American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN, 1994.
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) is a tropical fruit grown in Hawaii for the exotic fruit market. Fruit rot was observed periodically during 1998 and 1999 from two islands, Hawaii and Kauai, and severe fruit rot was observed during 2000 in orchards in Kurtistown and Papaikou on Hawaii. Symptoms were characterized by brown-to-black, water-soaked lesions on the fruit surface that progressed to blackening and drying of the pericarp, which often split and exposed the aril (flesh). In certain cultivars, immature, small green fruits were totally mummified. Rambutan trees with high incidence of fruit rot also showed symptoms of branch dieback and leaf spot. Lasmenia sp. Speg. sensu Sutton, identified by Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (Baarn, the Netherlands), was isolated from infected fruit and necrotic leaves. Also associated with some of the fruit rot and dieback symptoms were Gliocephalotrichum simplex (J.A. Meyer) B. Wiley & E. Simmons, and G. bulbilium J.J. Ellis & Hesseltine. G. simplex was isolated from infected fruit, and G. bulbilium was isolated from discolored vascular tissues and infected fruit. Identification of species of Gliocephalotrichum was based on characteristics of conidiophores, sterile hairs, and chlamydospores (1,4). Culture characteristics were distinctive on potato dextrose agar (PDA), where the mycelium of G. bulbilium was light orange (peach) without reverse color, while G. simplex was golden-brown to grayish-yellow with dark brown reverse color. Both species produced a fruity odor after 6 days on PDA. In pathogenicity tests, healthy, washed rambutan fruits were wounded, inoculated with 30 μl of sterile distilled water (SDW) or a fungus spore suspension (105 to 106 spores per ml), and incubated in humidity chambers at room temperature (22°C) under continuous fluorescent light. Lasmenia sp. (strain KN-F99-1), G. simplex (strain KN-F2000-1), and G. bulbilium (strains KN-F2001-1 and KN-F2001-2) produced fruit rot symptoms on inoculated fruit and were reisolated from fruit with typical symptoms, fulfilling Koch's postulates. Controls (inoculated with SDW) had lower incidence or developed less severe symptoms than the fungus treatments. Inoculation tests were conducted at least twice. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Lasmenia sp. in Hawaii and the first report of the genus Gliocephalotrichum on rambutan in Hawaii. These pathogens are potentially economically important to rambutan in Hawaii. G. bulbilium has been reported previously on decaying wood of guava (Psidium guajava L.) in Hawaii (2), and the fungus causes field and postharvest rots of rambutan fruit in Thailand (3). References: (1) J. J. Ellis and C. W. Hesseltine. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 89:21, 1962. (2) D. F. Farr et al. Fungi on Plants and Plant Products in the United States. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 1989. (3) N. Visarathanonth and L. L. Ilag. Pages 51-57 in: Rambutan: Fruit Development, Postharvest Physiology and Marketing in ASEAN. ASEAN Food Handling Bureau, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1987. (4) B. J. Wiley and E. G. Simmons. Mycologia 63:575, 1971.
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (SCYLV) was detected for the first time in 1996 in the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) sugarcane quarantine at Montpellier by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in varieties from Brazil, Florida, Mauritius, and Réunion. Between 1997 and 2000, the virus was found by RT-PCR and/or tissue-blot immunoassay (TBIA) in additional varieties from Barbados, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan, suggesting a worldwide distribution of the pathogen. An excellent correlation was observed between results obtained for the two diagnostic techniques. However, even though only a few false negative results were obtained by either technique, both are now used to detect SCYLV in CIRAD's sugarcane quarantine in Montpellier. The pathogen was detected by TBIA or RT-PCR in all leaves of sugarcane foliage, but the highest percentage of infected vascular bundles was found in the top leaves. The long hot water treatment (soaking of cuttings in water at 25°C for 2 days and then at 50°C for 3 h) was ineffective in eliminating SCYLV from infected plants. Sugarcane varieties from various origins were grown in vitro by apical bud culture and apical meristem culture, and the latter proved to be the most effective method for producing SCYLV-free plants.
Phytoplasmas (mycoplasmalike organisms, MLOs) associated with mitsuba (Japanese hone-wort) witches'-broom (JHW), garland chrysanthemum witches'-broom (GCW), eggplant dwarf (ED), tomato yellows (TY), marguerite yellows (MY), gentian witches'-broom (GW), and tsu-wabuki witches'-broom (TW) in Japan were investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of DNA and restriction enzyme analysis of PCR products. The phytoplasmas could be separated into two groups, one containing strains JHW, GCW, ED, TY, and MY, and the other containing strains GW and TW, corresponding to two groups previously recognized on the basis of transmission by Macrosteles striifrons and Scleroracus flavopictus, respectively. The strains transmitted by M. striifrons were classified in 16S rRNA gene group 16SrI, which contains aster yellows and related phytoplasma strains. Strains GW and TW were classified in group 16SrIII, which contains phytoplasmas associated with peach X-disease, clover yellow edge, and related phytoplasmas. Digestion of amplified 16S rDNA with HpaII indicated that strains GW and TW were affiliated with subgroup 16SrIII-B, which contains clover yellow edge phytoplasma. All seven strains were distinguished from other phytoplasmas, including those associated with clover proliferation, ash yellows, elm yellows, and beet leafhopper-transmitted virescence in North America, and Malaysian periwinkle yellows and sweet potato witches'-broom in Asia.