Sooty blotch and flyspeck (SBFS) is a fungal disease complex that can cause significant economic losses to apple growers by blemishing the fruit surface with dark-colored colonies. Little is known about the phenology of host infection for this diverse group of epiphytes. In 2009 and 2010, we investigated the timing of infection of apple fruit by SBFS species in six commercial apple orchards in Iowa. Five trees in each orchard received no fungicide sprays after fruit set. Within 3 weeks after fruit set, 60 apples per tree were covered with Japanese fruit bags to minimize inoculum deposition. Subsequently, a subsample of bagged apples was exposed for a single 2-week-long period and then rebagged for the remainder of the growing season. Experimental treatments included seven consecutive 2-week-long exposure periods; control treatments were apples that were either bagged or exposed for the entire season. After apples had been stored at 2°C for 6 weeks following harvest, all SBFS colonies on the apples were identified to species using a PCR-RFLP protocol. A total of 15 species were identified. For the seven most prevalent species, the number of infections per cm2 of fruit surface was greatest on apples that had been exposed early in the season. Two SBFS species, Peltaster fructicola and Colletogloeopsis-like FG2, differed significantly from each other in time required to attain 50% of the total number of colonies per apple, and analysis of variance indicated a significant interaction of SBFS taxon with exposure period. Our findings are the first evidence of species-specific patterns in timing of SBFS inoculum deposition and infection on apple fruit, and strengthen previous observations that most SBFS infections resulting in visible colonies at harvest develop from infections that occur early in the fruit development period. By defining taxon-specific phenological patterns of fruit infection, our findings, when combined with knowledge of region-specific patterns of taxon prevalence, provide a foundation for development of more efficient and cost-effective SBFS management tactics.
Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is grown on approximately 20,000 ha in Taiwan. It is an economically important crop and the income of many fruit farmers comes primarily from mango production. During 2006 and 2007, a stem-end rot disease was observed 1 week after harvest on 28 to 36% of stored mangoes picked from six orchards in the Pingtung, Tainan, and Kaoshiung regions. Two popular mango cultivars, Keitt and Irwin, showed greater susceptibility to this disease, while 'Haden' was found to be moderately susceptible. In storage, symptoms initially appeared as light-to-dark brown lesions surrounding peduncles. Rot symptoms advanced slowly but eventually penetrated the mesocarp, which consequently reduced the commercial value of fruits. The fungus formed abundant pycnidia (0.1 to 0.6 mm in diameter) on infected fruits in advanced stages of symptom development. Pieces of symptomatic fruits plated on acidified potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 25 ± 1°C consistently yielded the same fungus. A single conidial isolate was cultured. Pycnidia developed on PDA after continuous exposure to light for 9 to 14 days. On the basis of morphological characteristics, the fungus was identified as Phomopsis mangiferae L. (2,3). Pycnidia released two types of conidia: α-conidia (5 to 10 × 2.3 to 4.0 μm) were hyaline and oval to fusoid; and β-conidia (15.0 to 37.5 × 1.3 to 2.5 μm) were hyaline and filiform with characteristic curves. Conidiophores were hyaline, filiform, simple or branched, septate, and 15 to 75 μm long. Cultures incubated under continuous fluorescent light (185 ± 35 μE·m-2·s-1) at 25°C for 3 days were used as inoculum for pathogenicity tests. Five fruits from 'Keitt' were wounded with a sterilized scalpel and each wound (2 × 2 × 2 mm) was inoculated with either a 5-mm mycelium agar plug or a 0.5-ml spore suspension (105 conidia per ml) of the fungus. Five wounded fruits inoculated with 5-mm PDA plugs or sterile water alone served as controls. Inoculated areas were covered with moist, sterile cotton. Fruits were enclosed in plastic bags and incubated at 24°C for 3 days. The test was performed three times. The same symptoms were observed on all inoculated fruits, whereas no decay was observed on control fruits. Reisolations from the inoculated fruits consistently yielded P. mangiferae, thus fulfilling Koch's postulates. This disease has previously been reported in Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, India, Malaysia, and the United States (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. mangiferae causing stem-end rot disease on mangoes in Taiwan. Our report necessitates taking preventive strategies in the field, prior to or after harvest, to contain postharvest losses in mangoes. References: (1) G. I. Johnson. Page 39 in: Compendium of Tropical Fruit Diseases. R. C. Ploetz et al., eds. The American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN, 1994. (2) R. C. Ploetz, ed. Page 354 in: Diseases of Tropical Fruit Crops. CABI Publishing. Wallingford, UK, 2003. (3) E. Punithalingam. No. 1168 in: Descriptions of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria. CMI, Kew, Surrey, UK, 1993.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum Linn.) is a tropical, exotic fruit that has a rapidly expanding niche market in Hawaii. Diseased rambutan fruit was commonly observed in orchards in the Hilo and Kona districts of Hawaii Island during 2006. In surveys conducted in January, symptoms appeared as dark brown-to-black spots on mature fruit and blackened areas at the base of spinterns (hair-like projections) of mature and immature fruits. Pieces of infected fruit (cv. R167) were surface sterilized for 2 min in 0.5% NaOCl, plated on potato dextrose agar, and incubated at 24 ± 1°C for 7 days. The fungus growing on PDA was pale buff with sparse, aerial mycelium and acervuli containing black, slimy spore masses. All isolates had five-celled conidia. Apical and basal cells were hyaline, while the three median cells were olivaceous; the upper two were slightly darker than the lower one. Conidia (n = 40) were 20.3 ± 0.1 × 6.8 ± 0.1 μm. There were typically three apical appendages averaging 16.8 ± 0.2 μm long. The average basal appendage was 3.8 ± 0.1 μm long. The fungus was initially identified as Pestalotiopsis virgatula (Kleb.) Stey. on the basis of conidial and cultural characteristics (3). The identification was confirmed by molecular analysis of the 5.8S subunit and flanking internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) of rDNA amplified from DNA extracted from single-spore cultures with the ITS1/ITS4 primers (1,4) and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. EU047943). To confirm pathogenicity, agar pieces, 3 mm in diameter, from 7-day old cultures were used as inoculum. Five mature fruit from rambutan cv. R134 were rinsed with tap water, surface sterilized with 0.5% NaOCl for 2 min, wounded with a needle head, inoculated in the laboratory, and maintained in a moist chamber for 7 days. Lesions resembling symptoms that occurred in the field were observed on fruit after 7 days. No symptoms were observed on fruit inoculated with agar media. The fungus reisolated from diseased fruit was identical to the original isolates, confirming Koch's postulates. The disease appears to be widespread in Hawaii. Preharvest symptoms may have the potential to affect postharvest fruit quality if fruits are not stored at the proper conditions. Pestalotiopsis spp. have been reported on rambutan in Malaysia, Brunei, and Australia (2). To my knowledge, this is the first report of P. virgatula causing fruit spots on rambutan in Hawaii. References: (1) G. Caetano-Annolles et al. Curr. Genet. 39:346, 2001. (2) D. F. Farr et al. Fungal Databases. Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory. On-line publication. ARS, USDA, 2007. (3) E. F. Guba. Monograph of Pestalotia and Monochaetia. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1961. (4) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. 1990.
In March 2005, a fruit rot disease was found in several commercial strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duchesne) fields at Fongyuan, 24.25°N, 120.72°E, in Taichung County in central Taiwan. The disease was rare and was negligible in most cultivated areas. However, disease incidence has increased by 4 to 5% over the last 2 years and causes significant postharvest losses. In storage, symptoms on berries include light brown-to-black, sunken, irregularly shaped lesions. The lesions gradually enlarge and become firm with a dark green-to-black, velvety surface composed of mycelia, conidiophores, and conidia. Twelve single conidial isolates (AF-1 to AF-12) of a fungus were isolated by placing portions of symptomatic fruit from four locations onto acidified potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubating at 24 ± 1°C. One isolate from each of the four locations, AF-2, 6, 9, and 12, was selected for identification and pathogenicity studies. The fungus was identified as an Alternaria sp. according to the morphological descriptions of A. tenuissima (2,3). Conidiophores were simple or branched, straight or flexuous, septate, pale to light brown, 3.0 to 5.0 μm in diameter, and bore two to six conidia in a chain. Conidia were dark brown, obclavate or oval, and multicellular with seven transverse (in most cases) and numerous longitudinal septa. Conidia were 15.5 to 56.5 μm (average 35.0 μm) long × 6.0 to 15.0 μm (average 11.0 μm) wide at the broadest point. The pathogen was consistently isolated from berries in the field or in storage. Pathogenicity tests were conducted by inoculating 12 surface-sterilized berries with each of the four isolates. Approximately 300 μl of a spore suspension (2 × 105 conidia per ml) was placed at two points on the uninjured surface of each fruit and allowed to dry for 5 min. Control fruits were treated with sterile water. The berries were then enclosed in a plastic bag and incubated at 24 ± 1°C for 2 days. Disease symptoms similar to those described above were observed on 95% of inoculated berries 3 days after inoculation, while no symptoms developed in control berries. Reisolation from the inoculated berries consistently yielded the Alternaria sp. described above. Pathogenicity tests were performed three times. Previously, strawberry fruit rot caused by A. tenuissima was reported from Florida (2) and Malaysia (1), however, to our knowledge, this is the first report of fruit rot of strawberry caused by a species of Alternaria in Taiwan. References: (1) W. D. Cho et al. List of Plant Diseases in Korea. Korean Society of Plant Pathology, 2004. (2) C. M. Howard and E. E. Albregts. Phytopathology 63:938, 1973. (3) R. D. Milholland. Phytopathology 63:1395, 1973.
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.
Bok choy (Brassica chinensis L.) is a temperate vegetable grown in the cool highland areas of Malaysia. In June 2010, vegetable growing areas of the Cameron Highlands, located in Pahang State, Malaysia, were surveyed for the prevalence of anthracnose disease caused by Colletotrichum species. Diseased samples were randomly collected from 12 infested fields. Anthracnose incidence on bok choy varied from 8 to 36% in different nursery fields. Disease symptoms initially appeared as small water-soaked spots scattered on the leaf petioles of young plants. As these spots increased in size, they developed irregular round spots that turned to sunken grayish brown lesions surrounded by brownish borders. When the lesions were numerous, leaves collapsed. Pale buff to salmon conidial mass and acervuli were observed on well-developed lesions. The acervuli diameter varied in size from 198 to 486 μm, averaging 278.5 μm. Morphological and cultural characteristics of the fungus were examined on potato dextrose agar incubated for 7 days at 25 ± 2°C under constant fluorescent light. Vegetative mycelia were hyaline, septate, branched, and 2 to 7 μm in diameter. The color of the fungal colonies was grayish brown. Conidia were hyaline, aseptate, falcate, apices acute, and 21.8 to 28.5 × 2.6 to 3.4 mm. Setae were pale brown to dark brown, 75 to 155 μm long, base cylindrical, and tapering towards the acute tip. Appressoria were solitary or in dense groups, light to dark brown, entire edge to lobed, roundish to clavate, 6.5 to 14 × 5.8 to 8.6 μm, averaging 9.2 × 6.8 μm, and had a L/W ratio of 1.35. Based on the keys outlined by Mordue 1971 (2) and Sutton 1980 (3), the characteristics of this fungus corresponded to Colletotrichum capsici. Sequence analysis of the ITS-rDNA obtained from the Malaysian strain CCM3 (GenBank Accession No. JQ685746) using primers ITS5 and ITS4 (1) when aligned with deposited sequences from GenBank revealed 99 to 100% sequence identity with C. capsici strains (DQ286158, JQ685754, DQ286156, GQ936210, and GQ369594). A representative strain CCM3 was used for pathogenicity testing. Four non-infected detached leaves of 2-week-old B. chinensis were surface-sterilized and inoculated by placing 10 μl of conidial suspension (106 conidia ml-1) using either the wound/drop or non-wound/drop method, and distilled water was used as a control (1). Leaves were incubated at 25°C, 98% RH. The experiment was repeated twice. Five days after inoculation, typical anthracnose symptoms with acervuli formation appeared on the surface of tissues inoculated with the spore suspension, but not on the water controls. A fungus with the characteristics of C. capsici was recovered from the lesions on the inoculated leaves. Anthracnose caused by C. capsici has been reported on different vegetable crops, but not on bok choy (3). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of C. capsici causing anthracnose on bok choy in Malaysia. References: (1) R. Ford et al. Aust. Plant Pathol. 33:559, 2004. (2) J. E. M. Mordue. CMI Description of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria. Commonwealth Mycol. Inst., Kew, UK. 1971. (3) B. C. Sutton. The Genus Glomerella and its anamorph Colletotrichum. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, 1992. (4) P. P. Than et al. Plant Pathol. 57:562, 2008.
Banana is the second largest cultivated fruit crop in Malaysia, and is cultivated for both the domestic market and also for export. Anthranose is a well-known postharvest disease of banana and with high potential for damaging market value, as infection commonly occurs during storage. Anthracnose symptoms were observed on several varieties of banana such as mas, berangan, awak, nangka, and rastali in the states of Perak and Penang between August and October 2011. Approximately 80% of the fruits became infected with initial symptoms characterized as brown to black spots that later became sunken lesions with orange or salmon-colored conidial masses. Infected tissues (5 × 5 mm) were surface sterilized by dipping in 1% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) for 3 to 5 min, rinsed with sterile distilled water, and plated onto potato dextrose agar (PDA). Direct isolation was done by transferring the conidia from conidial masses using an inoculation loop and plating onto PDA. For both methods, the PDA plates were incubated at 27 ± 1°C with cycles of 12 h light and 12 h darkness. Visible growth of mycelium was observed after 4 to 5 days of incubation. Twenty isolates with conidial masses were recovered after 7 days of incubation. The isolates produced grayish white to grayish green and grey to moss dark green colony on PDA, pale orange conidial masses, and fusiform to cylindrical and hyaline conidia with an average size of 15 to 19 × 5 to 6 μm. Appresoria were ovate to obovate, dark brown, and 9 to 15 × 7 to 12 μm and setae were present, slightly swollen at the base, with a tapered apex, and brown. The cultural and morphological characteristics of the isolates were similar to those described for C. gleosporioides (1,2,3). All the C. gloeosporioides isolates were deposited in culture collection at Plant Pathology Lab, University Sains Malaysia. For confirmation of the identity of the isolates, ITS regions were sequenced using ITS4 and ITS5 primers. The isolates were deposited in GenBank with accessions JX163228, JX163231, JX163201, JX163230, JX163215, JX163223, JX163219, JX163202, JX163225, JX163222, JX163206, JX163218, JX163208, JX163209, JX163210, JX431560, JX163212, JX163213, JX431540, and JX431562. The resulting sequences showed 99% to 100% similarity with multiple C. gloeosporioides isolates in GenBank. Pathogenicity tests were conducted using mas, berangan, awak, nangka, and rastali bananas. Fruit surfaces were sterilized with 70% ethanol and wounded using a sterile scalpel. Two inoculation techniques were performed separately: mycelia plug and conidial suspension. Mycelial disc (5 mm) and a drop of 20 μl spore suspension (106 conidia/ml) were prepared from 7-day-old culture and placed on the fruit surface. The inoculated fruits were incubated at 27 ± 1°C for 10 days at 96.1% humidity. After 3 to 4 days of inoculation, brown to black spotted lesions were observed and coalesced to become black sunken lesions. Similar anthracnose symptoms were observed on all banana varieties tested. C. gloeosporioides was reisolated from the anthracnose lesions of all the inoculated fruit in which the cultural and morphological characteristics were the same as the original isolates. To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. gloeosporioides causing anthracnose of Musa spp. in Malaysia. References: (1) P. F. Cannon et al. Mycotaxon 104:189, 2008. (2) J. E. M. Mordue. Glomerella cingulata. CMI Description of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria, No. 315. CAB International,1971. (3) H. Prihastuti et al. Fungal Diversity 39:89, 2009.