This study was conducted to identify the causal organism of bark dieback disease of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) observed in Korea. Blueberry, a woody plant that is native to North America, belongs to the family Ericaceae and genus Vaccinium. Of the 400 species of blueberry in the world, most are distributed in the tropics of Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Highbush blueberry is abundantly grown in Canada and the United States and has become a popular commercial crop in Korea for products such as jam, wine, and sauce. Bark dieback disease of blueberry was found in Sunchang (<5% incidence), Jeollabuk-do, Korea in July 2009. Typical symptoms of the disease were blight and dieback on the stems with lesions extending along entire branches. Morphological examination revealed that the perithecia were of the globose type with a nipple, 155 to 490 (374.6) μm, and brown on the dead bark. Asci were bitunicate and clavate or cylindrical with dimensions of 63 to 125 × 16 to 20 μm and containing eight ascospores. Ascospores were of the long ovoid type with dimensions of 13.2 to 23.7 (17.98) × 25.4 to 41.1 (33.21) μm. From extracted genomic DNA, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-5.8S ribosomal DNA region was amplified with universal primers ITS1 (5'-TCCGTAGGTGAACCTGCGG-3') and ITS4 (5'-TCCTCCGCTTATTGATATGC-3'). A BLAST search of GenBank with the ITS sequence revealed that the Sunchang isolate (GenBank Accession No. HQ384217) had 99 to 100% sequence identity with the following Botryosphaeria dothidea accessions: FJ517657, AJ938005, FJ478129, FJ171723, and AJ938004. Phylogenetic analysis with the Sunchang isolate, B. dothidea strains, and related species revealed that the B. dothidea isolate and strains comprised a monophyletic group distinguished from other Botryosphaeria spp. including B. ribis, B. parva, B. protearum, B. lutea, B. australis, B. rhodina, B. obtuse, and B. stevensii (2). On the basis of morphological and molecular results, the isolate was identified as B. dothidea (Moug.) Ces. & De Not. A culture of B. dothidea isolate was grown on potato dextrose agar (PDA) for 10 days. A 5-mm plug was inoculated into stem wounds created with a No. 2 cork borer in 20 2-year-old disease-free blueberry plants grown in a greenhouse. Six plants inoculated with only PDA plugs served as noninoculated controls. The wounds were covered with Parafilm. After 3 months, the Parafilm was removed and black lesions were observed at the fungal inoculation sites, while no lesion was observed on the control plants. To complete Koch's postulates, the fungus was reisolated from the lesions and confirmed to be B. Dothidea (1). There is an urgent need to determine the spread of this disease in Korea, estimate the losses, and develop methods for reducing damage through biological and eco-friendly cultural control methods. References: (1) D. Jurc et al. Plant Pathol. 55:299, 2006. (2) B. Slippers et al. Mycologia 96:83, 2004.
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.) is one of the most important vegetables cultivated in Pahang and Kelantan, Malaysia. Pectobacterium carotovorum can cause soft rot on a wide range of crops worldwide, especially in countries with warm and humid climates such as Malaysia. Cabbage with symptoms of soft rot from commercial fields were sampled and brought to the laboratory during the winter of 2010. Disease symptoms were a gray to pale brown discoloration and expanding water-soaked lesions on leaves. Several cabbage fields producing white cultivars were investigated and 27 samples were collected. Small pieces of leaf samples were immersed in 5 ml of saline solution (0.80% NaCl) for 20 min to disperse the bacterial cells. Fifty microliters of the resulting suspension was spread on nutrient agar (NA) and King's B medium and incubated at 30°C for 48 h. Purification of cultures was repeated twice on these media. Biochemical and phenotypical tests gave these results: gram negative, rod shaped, ability to grow under liquid paraffin (facultative anaerobe); oxidase negative; phosphatase negative; positive degradation of pectate; sensitive to erythromycin; negative to Keto-methyl glucoside utilization, indole production and reduction sugars from sucrose were negative; acid production from sorbitol and arabitol was negative and from melibiose, citrate, and raffinose was positive. Hypersensitivity reaction on tobacco leaf with the injection of 106 CFU/ml of bacterial suspension for all strains was positive. Four representative strains were able to cause soft rot using cabbage slices (three replications) inoculated with a bacterial suspension at 106 CFU/ml. Inoculated cabbage slices were incubated in a moist chamber at 80% relative humidity and disease symptoms occurred after 24 h. Cabbage slices inoculated with water as a control remained healthy. The bacteria reisolated from rotted cabbage slices on NA had P. carotovorum cultural characteristics and could cause soft rot in subsequent tests. PCR amplification with Y1 and Y2 primers (1), which are specific for P. carotovorum, produced a 434-bp band with 15 strains. PCR amplification of the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer region (ITS) using G1 and L1 primers gave two main bands approximately 535 and 580 bp and one faint band approximately 740 bp when electrophoresed through a 1.5% agarose gel. The ITS-PCR products were digested with RsaI restriction enzyme. According to biochemical and physiological characterictics (2), PCR-based pel gene (1), and analysis by ITS-PCR and ITS-restriction fragment length polymorphism (3), all isolates were identified as P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum. This pathogen has been reported from Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore with whom Malaysia shares its boundaries. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum in cabbage from Malaysia. References: (1) A. Darraas et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60:1437, 1994. (2) N. W. Schaad et al. Laboratory Guide for the Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. 3rd ed. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, 2001. (3) I. K. Toth et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67:4070, 2001.
Cosmos caudatus Kunth. (Asteraceae), commonly known as ulam raja, is widely grown as an herbal aromatic shrub. In Malaysia, its young leaves are popularly eaten raw as salad with other greens and have been reported to possess extremely high antioxidant properties, which may be partly responsible for some of its believed medicinal functions. In early 2010, a suspected powdery mildew was observed on ulam raja plants at the Agricultural Park of Universiti Putra Malaysia. Initially, individual, white, superficial colonies were small and almost circular. Later, they enlarged and coalesced to cover the whole abaxial leaf surface. With development of the disease, all green parts (leaves, stems, and petioles) became covered with a continuous mat of mildew, giving a dusty appearance. Newly emerged leaves rapidly became infected. Diseased leaves ultimately senesced and dried up, making them aesthetically unattractive and unmarketable. The pathogen produced conidia in short chains (four to six conidia) on erect conidiophores. Conidiophores were unbranched, cylindrical, 125 to 240 μm long, with a slightly swollen foot cell. Individual conidia were hyaline, ellipsoid, and 25 to 30 (27.5) × 15 to 20 (17.5) μm with fibrosin inclusions. Morphological descriptions were consistent with those described for Sphaerotheca fuliginea or S. fusca, which has lately been reclassified as Podosphaera fusca (1). From extracted genomic DNA of P. fusca UPM UR1, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was amplified with ITS1 (5'-TCCGTAGGTGAACCTGCGG-3') and ITS4 (5'-TCCTCCGCTTATTGATATGC-3'). A BLAST search of GenBank with an ITS rDNA sequence of this fungus (GenBank Accession No. HQ589357) showed a maximum identity of 98% to the sequences of two P. fusca isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. AB525915.1 and AB525914.1). To satisfy Koch's postulates, the pathogenicity of fungal strain UPM UR1 was verified on 4-week-old plants. Inoculation was carried out by gently rubbing infected leaves onto healthy plants of C. caudatus. Ten pots of inoculated plants were kept under a plastic humid chamber and 10 pots of noninoculated plants, placed under another chamber, served as controls. After 48 h, the plants were then placed under natural conditions (25 to 28°C). Powdery mildew symptoms, similar to those on diseased field plants, appeared after 7 days on all inoculated plants. The white, superficial colonies enlarged and merged to cover large areas within 2 weeks. The infected leaf tissues became necrotic 6 to 8 days after the appearance of the first symptoms. Sporulation of P. fusca was observed on all infected leaves and stems. No symptoms were seen on the control plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. fusca causing powdery mildew on C. caudatus in Malaysia. This pathogen has also been reported previously to be economically important on a number of other hosts. With ulam raja plants, more attention should be given to prevention and control measures to help manage this disease. Reference: (1) U. Braun and S. Takamatsu. Schlechtendalia 4:1, 2000.
Fusarium nygamai Burgess & Trimboli was first described in 1986 in Australia (1) and subsequently reported in Africa, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Puerto Rico, and the United States. F. nygamai has been reported on sorghum, millet, bean, cotton, and in soil where it exists as a colonizer of living plants or plant debris. F. nygamai was also reported as a pathogen of the witch-weed Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. To our knowledge, no reports are available on its pathogenicity on crops of economic importance. In a survey of species of Fusarium causing seedling blight and foot rot of rice (Oryza sativa L.) carried out in Sardinia (Oristano, S. Lucia), F. nygamai was isolated in association with other Fusarium species-F. moniliforme, F. proliferatum, F. oxysporum, F. solani, F. compactum, and F. equiseti. Infected seedlings exhibited a reddish brown cortical discoloration, which was more intense in older plants. The identification of F. nygamai was based on monoconidial cultures grown on carnation leaf-piece agar (CLA) (2). The shape of macroconidia, the formation of microconidia in short chains and false heads, and the presence of chlamydospores were used as the criteria for identification. Two pathogenicity tests comparing one isolate of F. nygamai with one isolate of F. moniliforme were conducted on rice cv. Arborio sown in artificially infested soil in a greenhouse at 22 to 25°C. The inoculum was prepared by growing both Fusarium species in cornmeal sand (1:30 wt/wt) at 25°C for 3 weeks. This inoculum was added to soil at 20 g per 500 ml of soil. Pre- and post-emergence damping-off was assessed. Both F. nygamai and F. moniliforme reduced the emergence of seedlings (33 to 59% and 25 to 50%, respectively, compared to uninoculated control). After 25 days, the seedlings in infested soil exhibited a browning of the basal leaf sheaths, which progressed to a leaf and stem necrosis. Foot rot symptoms caused by F. nygamai and F. moniliforme were similar, but seedlings infected by F. nygamai exhibited a more intense browning on the stem base and a significant reduction of plant height at the end of the experiment. Either F. nygamai or F. moniliforme were consistently isolated from symptomatic tissue from the respective treatments. References: (1) L. W. Burgess and D. Trimboli. Mycologia 78:223,1986. (2) N. L. Fisher et al. Phytopathology 72:151,1982.
Production of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos has been severely affected by yellow leaf curl disease. Tomato leaf samples were collected from symptomatic tomato plants from farmers' fields in the five countries from 1997 to 1999. DNA was extracted from all samples, four from Vietnam, two each from Malaysia, Laos, and Myanmar, and seven from Bangladesh. Virus DNA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the begomovirus-specific degenerate primer pair PAL1v 1978/PAR1c 715(1), which amplifies the top part of DNA A. All samples gave the expected 1.4-kb PCR product. The PCR product of one sample per country was cloned and sequenced. Based on the sequences of the 1.4-kb DNA products amplified by the first primer pair, specific primers were designed to complete each of the DNA A sequences. Computer-assisted sequence comparisons were performed with begomovirus sequences available in the laboratory at the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, Shanhua, Tainan, and in the GenBank sequence database. The five DNA species resembled DNA A of begomoviruses. For the detection of DNA B two degenerate primer pairs were used, DNABLC1/DNABLV2 and DNABLC2/DNABLV2 (DNABLC1: 5'-GTVAATGGRGTDCACTTCTG-3', DNABLC2: 5'-RGTDCACTT CTGYARGATGC-3', DNABLV2: 5'-GAGTAGTAGTGBAKGTTGCA-3'), which were specifically designed to amplify DNA B of Asian tomato geminiviruses. Only the virus associated with yellow leaf curl of tomato in Bangladesh was found to contain a DNA B component, which was detected with the DNABLC1/DNABLV2 primer pair. The DNA A sequence derived from the virus associated with tomato yellow leaf curl from Myanmar (GenBank Accession No. AF206674) showed highest sequence identity (94%) with tomato yellow leaf curl virus from Thailand (GenBank Accession No. X63015), suggesting that it is a closely related strain of this virus. The other four viruses were distinct begomoviruses, because their sequences shared less than 90% identity with known begomoviruses of tomato or other crops. The sequence derived from the virus associated with tomato yellow leaf curl from Vietnam (GenBank Accession No. AF264063) showed highest sequence identity (82%) with the virus associated with chili leaf curl from Malaysia (GenBank Accession No. AF414287), whereas the virus associated with yellow leaf curl symptoms in tomato in Bangladesh (GenBank Accession No. AF188481) had the highest sequence identity (88%) with a tobacco geminivirus from Yunnan, China (GenBank Accession No. AF240675). The sequence derived from the virus associated with tomato yellow leaf curl from Laos (GenBank Accession No. AF195782) had the highest sequence identity (88%) with the tomato begomovirus from Malaysia (GenBank Accession No. AF327436). This report provides further evidence of the great genetic diversity of tomato-infecting begomoviruses in Asia. Reference: M. R. Rojas et al. Plant Dis. 77:340, 1993.
In the last decade, rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L., Sapindaceae) and pulasan (N. mutabile Blume) have been cultivated in Honduras to produce exotic fruits for export to North America (2). Recently, a disease was observed that produces dark brown to black fissured cankers from 1 to 3 cm long and 1 to 4 cm wide. The infected bark tissue becomes swollen with the middle region 3 to 8 mm thick. Symptoms appear when the trees are approximately 3 years old. As the trees mature, the cankers increase in size and weaken the branches, often resulting in breakage with the weight of the fruit causing substantial plant damage and fruit loss. In August 2010, fissured branch samples of rambutan and pulasan were collected from 6- to 8-year-old trees from the Humid Tropical Demonstrative Agroforestry Center in Honduras, Atlantida, La Masica (15°33'47.4″N, 87°05'2.5″W, elevation 106 m). A fungus associated with the cankers was identified as Dolabra nepheliae. It produces black, stipitate, elongate ascomata, 312 to 482 × 250 to 281 μm with broadly cylindric, bitunicate asci, 120 to 138 × 11.2 to 15.0 μm, and filiform, hyaline ascospores, 128 to 135 × 2.8 to 3.2 μm. Fungi from rambutan and pulasan were isolated on cornmeal agar plus 0.5% dextrose and antibiotics. On potato dextrose agar, the ascospores produced slow-growing colonies, 5 mm per week. In culture, isolates from both hosts produced pycnidia with elongated, slightly to strongly curved or S-shaped, hyaline conidia, 22.8 to 46.4 × 2.8 to 3.7 μm. This fungus was first reported on rambutan and pulasan from Malaysia (1,4), and later reported on rambutan and litchi in Hawaii and Puerto Rico (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of D. nepheliae on pulasan and rambutan from Honduras. Specimens have been deposited at the U.S. National Fungus Collections (BPI 882442 on N. lappaceum and BPI 882443 on N. mutabile). Cultures were deposited at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) as CBS 131490 on N. lappaceum and CBS 131491 on N. mutabile. Sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region including ITS1, 5.8S, and ITS2 intergenic spacers were deposited in GenBank (Accession No. JQ004281 on N. lappaceum and Accession No. JQ004280 on N. mutabile). A BLAST search and pairwise comparison using the GenBank web server were used to compare ITS sequence data and recovered the following results: (i) CBS 131490 on N. lappaceum is 99% (538 of 544) identical to D. nepheliae CBS 123297 on Litchi chinensis from Puerto Rico; and (ii) CBS 131491 on N. mutabile is 99% (527 of 533) identical to the same strain of D. nepheliae. On the basis of the ITS sequence data, the isolates from Honduras were confirmed as the same species, D. nepheliae from Puerto Rico. Efforts to develop resistant germplasm and management strategies to control this disease have been initiated. References: (1) C. Booth and W. P. Ting. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 47:235, 1964. (2) T. Ramírez et al. Manual Para el Cultivo de Rambutan en Honduras. Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola. La Lima, Cortes, Honduras, 2003. (3) A. Y. Rossman et al. Plant Dis. 91:1685, 2007. (4) H. Zalasky et al. Can. J. Bot. 49:559, 1971.
In June 2011, tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) in major growing areas of the Cameron Highlands and the Johor state in Malaysia were affected by a leaf spot disease. Disease incidence exceeded 80% in some severely infected regions. Symptoms on 50 observed plants initially appeared on leaves as small, brownish black specks, which later became grayish brown, angular lesions surrounded by a yellow border. As the lesions matured, the affected leaves dried up and became brittle and later developed cracks in the center of the lesions. A survey was performed in these growing areas and 27 isolates of the pathogen were isolated from the tomato leaves on potato carrot agar (PCA). The isolates were purified by the single spore technique and were transferred onto PCA and V8 agar media for conidiophore and conidia production under alternating light (8 hours per day) and darkness (16 hours per day) (4). Colonies on PCA and V8 agar exhibited grey mycelium and numerous conidia were formed at the terminal end of conidiophores. The conidiophores were up to 240 μm long. Conidia were oblong with 2 to 11 transverse and 1 to 6 longitudinal septa and were 24 to 69.6 μm long × 9.6 to 14.4 μm wide. The pathogen was identified as Stemphylium solani on the basis of morphological criteria (2). In addition, DNA was extracted and the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) was amplified by universal primers ITS5 and ITS4 (1). The PCR product was purified by the commercial PCR purification kit and the purified PCR product sequenced. The resulting sequences were 100% identical to published S. solani sequences (GenBank Accestion Nos. AF203451 and HQ840713). The amplified ITS region was deposited with NCBI GenBank under Accession No. JQ657726. A representative isolate of the pathogen was inoculated on detached 45-day-old tomato leaves of Malaysian cultivar 152177-A for pathogenicity testing. One wounded and two nonwounded leaflets per leaf were used in this experiment. The leaves were wounded by applying pressure to leaf blades with the serrated edge of a forceps. A 20-μl drop of conidial suspension containing 105 conidia/ml was used to inoculate these leaves (3). The inoculated leaves were placed on moist filter paper in petri dishes and incubated for 48 h at 25°C. Control leaves were inoculated with sterilized distilled water. After 7 days, typical symptoms for S. solani similar to those observed in the farmers' fields developed on both wounded and nonwounded inoculated leaves, but not on noninoculated controls, and S. solani was consistently reisolated. To our knowledge, this is the first report of S. solani causing gray leaf spot of tomato in Malaysia. References: (1) M. P. S. Camara et al. Mycologia 94:660, 2002. (2) B. S. Kim et al. Plant Pathol. J. 15:348, 1999. (3) B. M. Pryor and T. J. Michailides. Phytopathology 92:406, 2002. (4) E. G. Simmons. CBS Biodiversity Series 6:775, 2007.
Symptoms of gray leaf spot were first observed in June 2011 on pepper (Capsicum annuum) plants cultivated in the Cameron Highlands and Johor State, the two main regions of pepper production in Malaysia (about 1,000 ha). Disease incidence exceeded 70% in severely infected fields and greenhouses. Symptoms initially appeared as tiny (average 1.3 mm in diameter), round, orange-brown spots on the leaves, with the center of each spot turning gray to white as the disease developed, and the margin of each spot remaining dark brown. A fungus was isolated consistently from the lesions using sections of symptomatic leaf tissue surface-sterilized in 1% NaOCl for 2 min, rinsed in sterile water, dried, and plated onto PDA and V8 agar media (3). After 7 days, the fungal colonies were gray, dematiaceous conidia had formed at the end of long conidiophores (19.2 to 33.6 × 12.0 to 21.6 μm), and the conidia typically had two to six transverse and one to four longitudinal septa. Fifteen isolates were identified as Stemphylium solani on the basis of morphological criteria described by Kim et al. (3). The universal primers ITS5 and ITS4 were used to amplify the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1, 5.8, and ITS2) of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) of a representative isolate (2). A 570 bp fragment was amplified, purified, sequenced, and identified as S. solani using a BLAST search with 100% identity to the published ITS sequence of an S. solani isolate in GenBank (1). The sequence was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. JQ736024). Pathogenicity of the fungal isolate was tested by inoculating healthy pepper leaves of cv. 152177-A. A 20-μl drop of conidial suspension (105 spores/ml) was used to inoculate each of four detached, 45-day-old pepper leaves placed on moist filter papers in petri dishes (4). Four control leaves were inoculated similarly with sterilized, distilled water. The leaves were incubated at 25°C at 95% relative humidity for 7 days. Gray leaf spot symptoms similar to those observed on the original pepper plants began to develop on leaves inoculated with the fungus after 3 days, and S. solani was consistently reisolated from the leaves. Control leaves did not develop symptoms and the fungus was not reisolated from these leaves. Pathogenicity testing was repeated with the same results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of S. solani causing gray leaf spot on pepper in Malaysia. References: (1) S. F. Altschul et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389, 1997. (2) M. P. S. Camara et al. Mycologia 94:660, 2002. (3) B. S. Kim et al. Plant Pathol. J. 15:348, 1999. (4) B. M. Pryor and T. J. Michailides. Phytopathology 92:406, 2002.
A leaf spot on eggplant (Solanum melongena) was observed in major eggplant growing regions in Malaysia, including the Cameron Highlands and Johor State, during 2011. Disease incidence averaged approximately 30% in severely infected regions in about 150 ha of eggplant fields and greenhouses examined. Early symptoms consisted of small, circular, brown, necrotic spots uniformly distributed on leaves. The spots gradually enlarged and developed concentric rings. Eventually, the spots coalesced and caused extensive leaf senescence. A fungus was recovered consistently by plating surface-sterilized (1% NaOCl) sections of symptomatic leaf tissue onto potato dextrose agar (PDA). For conidial production, the fungus was grown on potato carrot agar (PCA) and V8 agar media under a 16-h/8-h dark/light photoperiod at 25°C (4). Fungal colonies were a dark olive color with loose, cottony mycelium. Simple conidiophores were ≤120 μm long and produced numerous conidia in long chains. Conidia averaged 20.0 × 7.5 μm and contained two to five transverse septa and the occasional longitudinal septum. Twelve isolates of the fungus were identified as Alternaria tenuissima on the basis of morphological characterization (4). Confirmation of the species identification was obtained by molecular characterization of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA amplified from DNA extracted from a representative isolate using universal primers ITS4 and ITS5 (2). The 558 bp DNA band amplified was sent for direct sequencing. The sequence (GenBank Accession No. JQ736021) was subjected to BLAST analysis (1) and was 99% identical to published ITS rDNA sequences of isolates of A. tenuissima (GenBank Accession Nos. DQ323692 and AY154712). Pathogenicity tests were performed by inoculating four detached leaves from 45-day-old plants of the eggplant cv. 125066x with 20 μl drops (three drops/leaf) of a conidial suspension containing 105 conidia/ml in sterile distilled water. Four control leaves were inoculated with sterile water. Leaves inoculated with the fungus and those treated with sterile water were incubated in chambers at 25°C and 95% RH with a 12-h photoperiod/day (2). Leaf spot symptoms typical of those caused by A. tenuissima developed on leaves inoculated with the fungus 7 days after inoculation, and the fungus was consistently reisolated from these leaves. The control leaves remained asymptomatic and the pathogen was not reisolated from the leaves. The pathogenicity test was repeated with similar results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of A. tenuissima causing a leaf spot on eggplant in Malaysia. A. tenuissima has been reported to cause leaf spot and fruit rot on eggplant in India (3). References: (1) S. F. Altschul et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389, 1997. (2) B. M. Pryor and T. J. Michailides. Phytopathology 92:406, 2002. (3) P. Raja et al. New Disease Rep. 12:31, 2005. (4) E. G. Simmons. Page 1 in: Alternaria Biology, Plant Diseases and Metabolites. J. Chelchowski and A. Visconti, eds. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1992.
Phalaenopsis orchids, originally from tropical Asia, are mainly planted in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan and have gained popularity from consumers all over the world. The cultivation area of Phalaenopsis orchids has been rising and large-scale bases have been established in mainland China, especially South China because of suitable environmental conditions. In September 2011, a soft rot of Phalaenopsis aphrodita was found in a Phalaenopsis planting base in Guangzhou with an incidence of ~15%. Infected plants initially showed water-soaked, pale-to-dark brown pinpoint spots on leaves that were sometimes surrounded by a yellow halo. Spots expanded rapidly with rising humidity and temperatures, and in a few days, severely extended over the blade with a light tan color and darker brown border. Lesions decayed with odorous fumes and tissues collapsed with inclusions exuding. The bacterium advanced to the stem and pedicle. Finally, leaves became papery dry and the pedicles lodged. Six diseased samples were collected, and bacteria were isolated from the edge of symptomatic tissues after sterilization in 0.3% NaOCl for 10 min, rinsing in sterile water three times, and placing on nutrient agar for culture. Twelve representative isolates were selected for further characterization. All strains were gram negative, grew at 37°C, were positive for indole production, and utilized malonate, glucose, and sucrose but not glucopyranoside, trehalose, or palatinose. Biolog identification (version 4.20.05, Hayward, CA) was performed and Pectobacterium chrysanthemi (SIM 0.868) was confirmed for the tested isolates (transfer to genus Dickeya). PCR was used to amplify the 16S rDNAgene with primers 27f and 1492r, dnaX gene with primers dnaXf and dnaXr (3), and gyrB gene with primers gyrBf (5'-GAAGGYAAAVTKCATCGTCAGG-3') and gyrB-r1 (5'-TCARATATCRATATTCGCYGCTTTC-3') designed on the basis of the published gyrB gene sequences of genus Dickeya. BLASTn was performed online, and phylogeny trees (100% bootstrap values) were created by means of MEGA 5.05 for these gene sequences, respectively. Results commonly showed that the representative tested strain, PA1, was most homologous to Dickeya dieffenbachiae with 98% identity for 16S rDNA(JN940859), 97% for dnaX (JN989971), and 96% for gyrB (JN971031). Thus, we recommend calling this isolate D. dieffenbachiae PA1. Pathogenicity tests were conducted by injecting 10 P. aphrodita seedlings with 100 μl of the bacterial suspension (1 × 108 CFU/ml) and another 10 were injected with 100 μl of sterile water as controls. Plants were inoculated in a greenhouse at 28 to 32°C and 90% relative humidity. Soft rot symptoms were observed after 2 days on the inoculated plants, but not on the control ones. The bacterium was isolated from the lesions and demonstrated identity to the inoculated plant by the 16S rDNA sequence comparison. Previously, similar diseases of P. amabilis were reported in Tangshan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Wuhan and causal agents were identified as Erwinia spp. (2), Pseudomonas grimontii (1), E. chrysanthemi, and E. carotovora subsp. carovora (4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of D. dieffenbachiae causing soft rot disease on P. aphrodita in China. References: (1) X. L. Chu and B. Yang. Acta Phytopathol. Sin. 40:90, 2010. (2) Y. M. Li et al. J. Beijing Agric. Coll. 19:41, 2004. (3) M. Sławiak et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 125:245, 2009. (4) Z. Y. Wu et al. J. Zhejiang For. Coll. 27:635, 2010.
A DNA macroarray was previously developed to detect major fungal and oomycete pathogens of solanaceous crops. To provide a convenient alternative for researchers with no access to X-ray film-developing facilities, specific CCD cameras or Chemidoc XRS systems, a chromogenic detection method with sensitivity comparable with chemiluminescent detection, has been developed. A fungal (Stemphylium solani) and an oomycete (Phytophthora capsici) pathogen were used to develop the protocol using digoxigenin (DIG)-labeled targets. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA), including ITS1, 5.8S rDNA, and ITS2, was used as the target gene and polymerase chain reaction amplified as in the previous protocol. Various amounts of species-specific oligonucleotides on the array, quantities of DIG-labeled ITS amplicon, and hybridization temperatures were tested. The optimal conditions for hybridization were 55°C for 2 h using at least 10 pmol of each species-specific oligonucleotide and labeled target at 10 ng/ml of hybridization buffer. Incubation of the hybridized array with anti-DIG conjugated alkaline phosphatase substrates, NBT/BCIP, produced visible target signals between 1 and 3 h compared with 1 h in chemiluminescent detection. Samples from pure cultures, soil, and artificially inoculated plants were also used to compare the detection using chemiluminescent and chromogenic methods. Chromogenic detection was shown to yield similar results compared with chemiluminescent detection in regard to signal specificity, duration of hybridization between the array and targets, and cost, though it takes 1 to 2 h longer for the visualization process, thus providing a convenient alternative for researchers who lack darkroom facilities. To our knowledge, this is the first report of DNA macroarray detection of plant pathogens using a chromogenic method.
Physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) is an important biofuel crop worldwide. Although it has been reported to be resistant to pests and diseases (1), stem cankers have been observed on this plant at several locations in Peninsular Malaysia since early February 2008. Necrotic lesions on branches appear as scars with vascular discoloration in the tissue below the lesion. The affected area is brownish and sunken in appearance. Disease incidence of these symptomatic nonwoody plants can reach up to 80% in a plantation. Forty-eight samples of symptomatic branches collected from six locations (University Farm, Setiu, Gemenceh, Pulau Carey, Port Dickson, and Kuala Selangor) were surface sterilized in 10% bleach, rinsed twice with sterile distilled water, air dried on filter paper, and plated on water agar. After 4 days, fungal colonies on the agar were transferred to potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 25°C. Twenty-seven single-spore fungal cultures obtained from all locations produced white, aerial mycelium that became dull gray after a week in culture. Pycnidia from 30-day-old pure cultures produced dark brown, oval conidia that were two celled, thin walled, and oval shape with longitudinal striations. The average size of the conidia was 23.63 × 12.72 μm with a length/width ratio of 1.86. On the basis of conidial morphology, these cultures were identified as Lasiodiplodia theobromae. To confirm the identity of the isolates, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was amplified with ITS1/ITS4 primers and sequenced. The sequences were deposited in GenBank (Accession Nos. HM466951, HM466953, HM466957, GU228527, HM466959, and GU219983). Sequences from the 27 isolates were 99 to 100% identical to two L. theobromae accessions in GenBank (Nos. HM008598 and HM999905). Hence, both morphological and molecular characteristics confirmed the isolates as L. theobromae. Pathogenicity tests were performed in the glasshouse with 2-month-old J. curcas seedlings. Each plant was wound inoculated by removing the bark on a branch to a depth of 2 mm with a 10-mm cork borer. Inoculation was conducted by inserting a 10-mm-diameter PDA plug of mycelium into the wound and wrapping the inoculation site with wetted, cotton wool and Parafilm. Control plants were treated with plugs of sterile PDA. Each isolate had four replicates and two controls. After 6 days of incubation, all inoculated plants produced sunken, necrotic lesions with vascular discoloration. Leaves were wilted and yellow above the point of inoculation on branches. The control plants remained symptomless. The pathogen was successfully reisolated from lesions on inoculated branches. L. theobromae has been reported to cause cankers and dieback in a wide range of hosts and is common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world (2,3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of stem canker associated with L. theobromae on J. curcas in Malaysia. References: (1) S. Chitra and S. K. Dhyani. Curr. Sci. 91:162, 2006. (2) S. Mohali et al. For. Pathol. 35:385, 2005. (3) E. Punithalingam. Page 519 in: CMI Descriptions of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, Surrey, UK. 1976.
Yardlong bean (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) is extensively cultivated in Indonesia for consumption as a green vegetable. During the 2008 season, a severe outbreak of a virus-like disease occurred in yardlong beans grown in farmers' fields in Bogor, Bekasi, Subang, Indramayu, and Cirebon of West Java, Tanggerang of Banten, and Pekalongan and Muntilan of Central Java. Leaves of infected plants showed severe mosaic to bright yellow mosaic and vein-clearing symptoms, and pods were deformed and also showed mosaic symptoms on the surface. In cv. 777, vein-clearing was observed, resulting in a netting pattern on symptomatic leaves followed by death of the plants as the season advanced. Disease incidence in the Bogor region was approximately 80%, resulting in 100% yield loss. Symptomatic leaf samples from five representative plants tested positive in antigen-coated plate-ELISA with potyvirus group-specific antibodies (AS-573/1; DSMZ, German Resource Center for Biological Material, Braunschweig, Germany) and antibodies to Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV; AS-0929). To confirm these results, viral nucleic acids eluted from FTA classic cards (FTA Classic Card, Whatman International Ltd., Maidstone, UK) were subjected to reverse transcription (RT)-PCR using potyvirus degenerate primers (CIFor: 5'-GGIVVIGTIGGIWSIGGIAARTCIAC-3' and CIRev: 5'-ACICCRTTYTCDATDATRTTIGTIGC-3') (3) and degenerate primers (CMV-1F: 5'-ACCGCGGGTCTTATTATGGT-3' and CMV-1R: 5' ACGGATTCAAACTGGGAGCA-3') specific for CMV subgroup I (1). A single DNA product of approximately 683 base pairs (bp) with the potyvirus-specific primers and a 382-bp fragment with the CMV-specific primers were amplified from ELISA-positive samples. These results indicated the presence of a potyvirus and CMV as mixed infections in all five samples. The amplified fragments specific to potyvirus (four samples) and CMV (three samples) were cloned separately into pCR2.1 (Invitrogen Corp., Carlsbad, CA). Two independent clones per amplicon were sequenced from both orientations. Pairwise comparison of these sequences showed 93 to 100% identity among the cloned amplicons produced using the potyvirus-specific primers (GenBank Accessions Nos. FJ653916, FJ653917, FJ653918, FJ653919, FJ653920, FJ653921, FJ653922, FJ653923, FJ653924, FJ653925, and FJ653926) and 92 to 97% with a corresponding nucleotide sequence of Bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) from Taiwan (No. AY575773) and 88 to 90% with BCMV sequences from China (No. AJ312438) and the United States (No. AY863025). The sequence analysis indicated that BCMV isolates from yardlong bean are more closely related to an isolate from Taiwan than with isolates from China and the United States. The CMV isolates (GenBank No. FJ687054) each were 100% identical and 96% identical with corresponding sequences of CMV subgroup I isolates from Thailand (No. AJ810264) and Malaysia (No. DQ195082). Both BCMV and CMV have been documented in soybean, mungbean, and peanut in East Java of Indonesia (2). Previously, BCMV, but not CMV, was documented on yardlong beans in Guam (4). To our knowledge, this study represents the first confirmed report of CMV in yardlong bean in Indonesia and is further evidence that BCMV is becoming established in Indonesia. References: (1) J. Aramburu et al. J. Phytopathol. 155:513, 2007. (2) S. K. Green et al. Plant Dis. 72:994, 1988. (3) C. Ha et al. Arch. Virol. 153:25, 2008. (4) G. C. Wall et al. Micronesica 29:101, 1996.
In August 2008, 30% of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants in plots in Lubbock County, Texas showed yellowing, lateral stem dieback, upward leaf curling, enlargement of stems, adventitious roots, and swollen nodes. Yellowing in leaves was similar to that seen with zebra chip disease (ZC) of potato that was confirmed in a potato field 112 km away in July 2008 and was associated with a 'Candidatus Liberibacter' species (1), similar to findings earlier in 2008 in New Zealand and California (2,3). Tissue from four symptomatic plants of cv. Spitfire and two of cv. Celebrity were collected and DNA was extracted from midribs and petioles with a FastDNA Spin Kit (Qbiogene, Inc., Carlsbad, CA,). PCR amplification was done with 16S rRNA gene primers OA2 and OI2c, which are specific for "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" from potato and tomato and amplify a 1.1-kb fragment of the 16S rRNA gene of this new species (1,3). Amplicons of 1.1 kb were obtained from all samples and these were sequenced in both orientations (McLab, San Francisco, CA). Sequences of the 16S rRNA gene were identical for both Spitfire and Celebrity and were submitted to the NCBI as GenBank Accession Nos. FJ939136 and FJ939137, respectively. On the basis of a BLAST search, sequence alignments revealed 99.9% identity with a new species of 'Ca. Liberibacter' from potato (EU884128 and EU884129) in Texas (1); 99.7% identity with the new species "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" described from potato and tomato (3) in New Zealand (EU849020 and EU834130, respectively) and from the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli in California (2) (EU812559, EU812556); 97% identity with 'Ca L. asiaticus' from citrus in Malaysia (EU224393) and 94% identity with both 'Ca. L. africanus' and 'Ca. L. americanus' from citrus (EU921620 and AY742824, respectively). A neighbor-joining cladogram constructed using the 16S rRNA gene fragments delineated four clusters corresponding to each species, and these sequences clustered with "Ca. L. solanacearum". A second PCR analysis was conducted with the CL514F/CL514R primer pair, which amplifies a sequence from the rplJ and rplL ribosomal protein genes of "Ca. L. solanacearum". The resulting 669-bp products were 100% identical to a sequence reported from tomato in Mexico (FJ498807). This sequence was submitted to NCBI (GU169328). ZC, a disease causing losses to the potato industry, is associated with a 'Candidatus Liberibacter' species (1-3) and was reported in Central America and Mexico in the 1990s, in Texas in 2000, and more recently in other states in the United States (4). In 2008, a "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" was detected on Capsicum annuum, S. betaceum, and Physalis peruviana in New Zealand (3). Several studies have shown that the potato psyllid, B. cockerelli, is a potential vector for this pathogen (2,4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" in field tomatoes showing ZC-like foliar disease symptoms in the United States. References: (1). J. A. Abad et al. Plant Dis. 93:108, 2009 (2) A. K. Hansen et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:5862, 2008. (3) L. W. Liefting et al. Plant Dis. 93:208, 2009. (4) G. A. Secor et al. Plant Dis. 93:574, 2009.
In December 2008, infected leaves of Trichosanthes cucumerina were observed on commercial cucurbit farms located in Pontian, Johor (south of West Malaysia). Bright yellow and small necrotic lesions were observed on the adaxial surface of the leaves, whereas sporangiophores were observed on pale yellowish brown-to-brown lesions on the abaxial surface. The length and width of the sporangia ranged from 19 to 36 μm (28.6) and 11 to 23 μm (17.6), respectively. The length of the sporangiophores ranged from 310 to 450 μm, with an average length of 380 μm. The pathogen was identified as Pseudoperonospora cubensis on the basis of the morphological criteria described by Palti and Cohen (2). To confirm the morphological findings, DNA was extracted from symptomatic tissue and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was PCR amplified using primers ITS5-P2 and ITS4 (3). The appropriate-sized amplicon was gel excised and column purified and then submitted for direct sequencing. The resulting 802 bp amplified ITS region was 100% identical to published P. cubensis sequences (GenBank Accession Nos. EU876603, EU876584, and AY198306). This sequence was deposited with NCBI GenBank under the Accession No. GU233293. In this study, pathogenicity tests were conducted using detached leaf disc assays (1) and a P. cubensis isolate obtained from T. cucumerina. For this purpose, leaf discs were excised from 6- to 8-week-old leaves of T. cucumerina using a 20-mm cork borer. Five leaf discs were placed with their abaxial surface facing upward on moist filter paper in petri dishes. Each of four leaf discs was inoculated with four 10-μl droplets of a 1 × 105 per ml sporangial suspension, whereas the fifth disc was inoculated with water droplets and served as a control. Three replications were completed. The leaf discs were placed in darkness at 14 ± 2°C for 24 h and subsequently incubated with a 12-h photoperiod. After 10 days, sporulation was observed on the sporangia-inoculated leaf discs with similar morphological features to the initial field samples. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. cubensis causing downy mildew of T. cucumerina in Malaysia. References: (1) A. Lebeda and M. P. Widrlechner. J. Plant Dis. Prot. 110:337, 2003. (2) J. Palti and Y. Cohen. Phytoparasitica 8:109, 1980. (3) H. Voglmayr and O. Constantinescu. Mycol. Res. 112:487, 2008.
Plumeria spp., native to tropical America, are popular small trees grown widely in tropical areas of the world and as potted plants elsewhere. P. rubra and P. obtusa cultivars and hybrids are most common. A rust disease of a Plumeria sp. (likely P. rubra based on pointed leaf tips, leaves more than 18 cm (7 inches) long, and high rust susceptibility) was observed in November 2008 and again in June 2009 on homeowner plants in Baton Rouge, LA. A survey of five Baton Rouge retail nurseries in September 2009 revealed that 87% (90 of 103) of the plumeria plants were heavily infected with rust. Early symptoms included numerous 1-mm chlorotic spots on adaxial leaf surfaces followed by leaf chlorosis, necrosis, and abscission. Uredinia were numerous, mostly hypophyllous and yellowish orange. Urediniospores were catenulate, orange en masse, verrucose, globose, ovoid, ellipsoidal or angular, and measured 21.8 to 41.9 × 16.4 to 32.8 μm (average 29.4 × 22.6 μm). The rust was identified as Coleosporium plumeriae Pat. (= C. plumierae) (3). Teliospores were not found during this study. Pathogenicity tests were performed by spraying urediniospores (20,000/ml of deionized water) on three healthy Thai hybrid plumeria plants. Five leaves of each plant were misted with water and covered with plastic bags and three to five leaves were inoculated. Plants were held at 27°C for 27 h in a dew chamber and then moved outdoors. Typical rust symptoms and uredinia with urediniospores developed in 10 days on all inoculated leaves while noninoculated leaves remained healthy. Characteristics and spore measurements matched those of the rust from original infected plants. Additional plumeria rust inoculations were made to other Apocynaceae family members that included Allamanda cathartica, Catheranthus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle), Mandevilla splendens, Nerium oleander, and Vinca major. Catheranthus roseus was very susceptible to C. plumeriae with chlorotic leaf spots developing on the six inoculated plants after 8 days and uredinia with urediniospores appearing after 11 days. None of the other plant genera were susceptible to the rust. Plumeria rust was also observed on plumeria trees in urban landscapes in peninsular (Penang) and Bornean (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah) Malaysia in December 2007. To confirm identity, ~1,000 bp of nuclear rDNA 28S subunit from each (Lousiana, Penang, and Kota Kinabalu) was sequenced with rust-specific primers (1) and shared 100% identity (GenBank No. GU145555-6). Plumeria rust was first found on the island of Guadeloupe (3) and then spread to Central and South America. It has been known from Florida since 1960 under the synonym C. domingense (2), but has not been reported elsewhere in the continental United States. In more recent years, plumeria rust has spread to Hawaii, many Pacific islands, India, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, and Nigeria (4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of plumeria rust from Louisiana and Malaysia and of susceptibility of another member of the Apocynaceae, Madagascar periwinkle, to C. plumeriae. Voucher material from Louisiana and Malaysia has been deposited in the Mycology Herbarium of Louisiana State University (LSUM). References: (1) M. C. Aime. Mycoscience 47:112, 2006. (2) Anonymous. Index of Plant Diseases in the United States. U.S. Dept. Agric. Handb. No. 165. Washington, D.C., 1960. (3) N. Patouillard. Bull. Soc. Mycol. Fr. 18:171, 1902. (4) C. To-Anun et al. Nat. Hist. J. Chulalongkorn Univ. 4:41, 2004.
Red-fleshed dragon fruit (Hylocereus polyrhizus [Weber] Britton & Rose) is a newly introduced and potential crop in the Malaysian fruit industry. Besides its nutritious value, the fruit is being promoted as a health crop throughout Southeast Asia. In April of 2007, a new disease was observed in major plantations of H. polyrhizus throughout five states (Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, and Perak) in Malaysia with 41 and 25% disease incidence and severity, respectively. Stems of H. polyrhizus showed spots or small, circular, faint pink-to-beige necrotic lesions that generally coalesced as symptoms progressed. Symptom margins of diseased stem samples were surface sterilized with a 70% alcohol swab, cut into small blocks (1.5 × 1.5 × 1.5 cm), soaked in 1% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCI) for 3 min, and rinsed in several changes of sterile distilled water (each 1 min). The surface-sterilized tissues were placed onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated under alternating 12-h daylight and black light for 7 days. A fungus was consistently isolated from the stems of symptomatic H. polyrhizus and identified as Curvularia lunata (Wakker) Beodijn (1-3) that showed pale brown multicelled conidia (phragmoconidia; three to five celled) that formed apically through a pore (poroconidia) in sympodially, elongating, geniculated conidiophores. Conidia are relatively fusiform, cylindrical, or slightly curved, with one of the central cells being larger and darker (26.15 ± 0.05 μm). All 25 isolates of C. lunata obtained from diseased H. polyrhizus are deposited at the Culture Collection Unit, Universiti Sains Malaysia and available on request. Isolates were tested for pathogenicity by injecting conidial suspensions (1 × 106 conidia/ml) and pricking colonized toothpicks on 25 healthy H. polyrhizus stems. Controls were treated with sterile distilled water and noncolonized toothpicks. All inoculated plants and controls were placed in a greenhouse with day and night temperatures of 30 to 35°C and 23 to 30°C, respectively. Development of external symptoms on inoculated plants was observed continuously every 2 days for 2 weeks. Two weeks after inoculation, all plants inoculated with all isolates of C. lunata developed stem lesions similar to those observed in the field. No symptoms were observed on the control plants and all remained healthy. C. lunata was reisolated from 88% of the inoculated stems, completing Koch's postulates. The pathogenicity test was repeated with the same results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. lunata causing a disease on H. polyrhizus. References: (1) M. B. Ellis. Dematiaceous Hyphomycetes. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, Surrey, England, 1971. (2) R. R. Nelson and F. A. Hassis. Mycologia 56:316, 1964. (3) C. V. Subramanian. Fungi Imperfecti from Madras V. Curvularia. Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. 38:27, 1955.
During March 2007, a fruit rot disease was observed in several loquat (Eriobotrya japonica (Thunberg) Lindley) fields located in Taichung, Nantou, and Miaoli counties. Loquat is a valuable fruit crop grown predominantly in central Taiwan, and hence, even a minor yield loss by this new disease is economically significant. Symptoms on fruits initially appeared as small lesions (<1 mm) that later developed into light-to-dark brown, circular, larger (7 mm), sunken lesions, indicating invasion of a pathogen into the fruit. Pieces of rotted fruit tissue (1 × 1 × 1 mm) were immersed for 1 min in 3% commercial bleach, followed by 70% ethanol, cultured on potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated under constant fluorescent light (185 ± 35 μE·m-2·s-1) at 24°C for 2 days. Three single conidial isolates (AS1 to AS3) were selected and used in morphological and pathogenicity studies. All three isolates were identified as an Alternaria sp. (1-3) and formed abundant, dark brown mycelium when cultured on PDA with light at 24°C. Conidiophores were 60 to 89 × 3 to 5 μm, densely fasciculate, cylindrical, simple or branched, and had distinct conidial scars. Conidia were 12 to 74 × 6 to 14 μm, golden brown, straight or curved, obclavate with beaks measuring half the length of the conidium, and observed in chains of 10 or more spores with four to seven transverse septa and several longitudinal septa. Pathogenicity tests were conducted twice by inoculating eight surface-sterilized wounded or unwounded fruits with each of the three isolates in each experiment. Two cuts (1 × 1 × 1 mm) were made on each fruit 3 cm apart with a sterile scalpel, and a 300-μl spore suspension (2 × 105 conidia per ml) was placed on each wound. Similarly, a 300-μl spore suspension was placed on unwounded fruits and air dried for 5 min. Control fruits were similarly treated with sterile water. Inoculated fruits were enclosed in a plastic bag and kept at 24 ± 1°C. Symptoms of soft rot were observed on 60% (unwounded) and 100% (wounded) of inoculated fruits 5 days after inoculation, while control fruits did not develop disease symptoms. Reisolation from the symptomatic fruits consistently yielded an Alternaria sp. This fungus previously has been reported as the causal agent of fruit rot or black spot of papaya, mango, kiwifruit, pear, and carambola from Australia, India, Malaysia, South Africa, and the United States (1-3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of fruit rot of loquat caused by an Alternaria sp. in Taiwan. To manage this disease, growers may resort to fungicidal sprays followed by bagging of fruits to reduce pre- and postharvest losses. References: (1) A. L. Jones and H. S. Aldwinckle. Compendium of Apple and Pear Diseases. The American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN, 1990. (2) R. C. Ploetz. Diseases of Tropical Fruit Crops. CABI Publishing. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK, 2003. (3) R. C. Ploetz et al. Compendium of Tropical Fruit Diseases. The American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN, 1994.
Blood disease in bananas caused by Ralstonia syzygii subsp. celebesensis (Rsce) is a bacterial wilt disease that causes major yield losses of banana in Indonesia and peninsular Malaysia. The disease has significantly increased its geographic distribution in the last decade. Diagnostic methods are an important component of disease management in vegetatively propagated crops such as banana to constrain incursions of plant pathogens. Therefore, the objectives of this study were: i) to design and rigorously validate a novel banana Blood disease (BBD) real-time PCR assay with a high level of specificity and sensitivity of detection. ii) to validate published PCR based diagnostic methods targeting either the intergenic region in the megaplasmid ("121 assay" with primer set 121) or the phage tail protein coding sequence in the bacterial chromosome ("Kubota assay" and "BDB2400 assay" with primer set BDB2400). Assay validation included 339 samples (174 Blood disease bacterium, 51 bacteria associated with banana plants, 51 members of the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex and 63 samples from symptomatic and healthy plant material). Validation parameters were analytical specificity (inclusivity and exclusivity), selectivity, limit of detection, accuracy, and ruggedness. The "121 assay" and our newly developed "BBD real-time PCR assay" detected all Rsce strains with no cross specificity during validation. Two different PCR assays using the primer set BDB2400 lacked specificity and selectivity. This study reveals that our novel "BBD real-time PCR assay" and the conventional PCR "121 assay" are reliable methods for Blood disease diagnostics as they comply with all tested validation parameters.
Dragon fruit (Hylocereus polyrhizus & H. undatus) is a rapidly growing commodity in Taiwan. The production acreage has been tripled since 2011, with an estimation of over 2,800 ha in 2019. From disease survey conducted in July 2020, reddish orange to blackish brown lesions similar to stem canker caused by Neoscytalidium dimidiatum on dragon fruit cladodes (Supplementary Fig. S1, Q) were observed from two orchards in Central Taiwan. Diseased cladodes were brought back to the lab, surface disinfested with 70% ethanol for 15 to 30 sec, and then blotted dried with a paper towel. Small pieces (about 3x3 mm) of necrotic spots were excised, placed on 2% water agar (WA) plates, and incubated with 12 h photoperiod at 28 ± 2 ℃ for 3 days. Among the necrotic spots that were used for fungal isolation, some were detected to have N. dimidiatum accounting for 21 isolates, while three isolates detected in other spots were unknown. Single hyphal tips of the three unknown fungal colonies with similar morphology were transferred on potato dextrose agar (PDA). Brownish- to grayish-white colonies with fluffy aerial mycelium were observed on PDA (Supplementary Fig. S1, A, B, E, F, I and J) after 8 days of incubation. To induce the sporulation, all the fungal isolates were cultivated on autoclaved cowpea pods on 2% WA plates with 12 h photoperiod at 25 ± 2 ℃ for 3 weeks. Black pycnidia embedded in cowpea tissues and creamy yellowish exudates with pycnidiospores extruding from the ostiole were observed (Supplementary Fig. S1, C, G and K). Alpha-conidia were characterized as aseptate, hyaline, smooth, ellipsoidal or fusiform, often bi-guttulate and measured about 6.0 to 6.5 μm × 2.0 to 2.3 μm (n = 50 for each isolate) (Supplementary Fig. S1, D, H and L). Beta-conidia were not observed. Morphological characteristics of these isolates were similar to Diaporthe spp. described by Udayanga et al. (2015). To further identify the fungal isolates, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS), β-tubulin (TUB) and translation elongation factor 1-α (EF1-α) regions were amplified using primer pairs ITS1/ITS4 (White et al. 1990), Bt2a/Bt2b (Glass & Donaldson 1995) and EF1-728F/EF1-986R (Carbone & Kohn 1999), respectively. BLAST analysis of isolates CH0720-010 (ITS: OK067377; TUB: OK149767; EF1-α: OK149764), CH0720-013 (ITS: OK067378; TUB: OK149768; EF1-α: OK149765) and TC0720-016 (ITS: OK067379; TUB: OK149769; EF1-α: OK149766) showed 99.78 to 100% of ITS identity, 98.8 to 99.2% of TUB identity, and 100% of EF1-α identity with Diaporthe ueckerae (ITS: KY565426; TUB: KY569384; EF1-α: KY569388). Phylogenetic trees were constructed using concatenated ITS, TUB, and EF1-α sequences based on maximum likelihood with HKY+G model, maximum parsimony, and Bayesian inference method in MEGA X and Geneious Prime 2020.2.4. All isolates were clustered in D. ueckerae with similar topology based on aforementioned methods, hence the phylogram of maximum likelihood was presented (Supplementary Fig. S2). To confirm the pathogenicity, detached dragon fruit (H. polyrhizus and H. undatus) cladodes (20 to 30 cm in length) were surface disinfested, wounded with sterilized syringe (about 2 mm in depth), and inoculated with mycelial plugs (6 mm in diam.) from 5-day-old colonies on PDA. Each isolate had three mycelial plugs and the PDA plugs without mycelium were inoculated as negative control. Inoculated cladodes were placed in a moisture chamber and incubated at 30 ± 2 ℃ with 12 h photoperiod. Two days after inoculation (DAI), the agar plugs were removed and symptom development on the cladodes was photo recorded every other day. The inoculation experiment was repeated twice. At 6 DAI, round to irregular, dark-brown, and water-soaking lesions were observed on the cladodes of both species inoculated with the three D. ueckerae isolates whereas all negative controls remained asymptomatic (Supplementary Fig. S1, M-P). Morphologically identical fungi were re-isolated from inoculated cladodes, fulfilling Koch's postulates. Several Diaporthe species have been reported infecting dragon fruit in the southeastern Asian countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia (Udayanga et al. 2012; Karim et al. 2019; Huda-Shakirah et al. 2021). To our knowledge, this is the first report of stem rot caused by D. ueckerae in Taiwan. Since the field symptoms may be easily confused with those caused by N. dimidiatum, the potential threat of Diaporthe species complex on dragon fruit should be aware and may warrant further study.