Mexico is a major avocado (Persea americana) producer in the world. Glomerella cingulata (anamorph Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) has been reported as a causal agent of anthracnose on avocado fruits worldwide (3), while G. acutata (anamorph Colletotrichum acutatum) has been identified as the cause of this disease only in New Zealand (2) and Australia (4). This study was done with the objective to determine the Glomerella spp. involved as the causal agents of avocado anthracnose in Mexico. From 2003 to 2006, avocado fruits cv. Hass with anthracnose symptoms appearing as brown-black lesions on the pericarp and soft rot in the mesocarp were collected in 10 counties in Michoacan, the leading avocado-producing Mexican state. Glomerella spp. were isolated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) for molecular and morphological identification. A phylogenetic analysis was done by amplifying the internal transcribed spacer region of rDNA for 28 of the isolates. Primers ITS5/NL4 was used and successfully amplified bands of approximately 1,000 bp. Each sequence corresponding to Glomerella spp. was compared with sequences deposited in the GenBank database using BLAST. The results from molecular approach indicated 86% of the isolates used in this study were G. cingulata and 14% were G. acutata. Sequences of both species were deposited in GenBank under Accession Nos. EF221828, EF221829, and EF221830 for G. cingulata and EF175780, EF221831, and EF221832 for G. acutata. Colonies of G. acutata that developed on PDA medium were pale gray, occasionally the lower surface was olive green, and the center was covered with orange-to-salmon pink masses of conidia and perithecia. Conidia grown in the same media were straight, fusiform, 8.2 to 16.5 μm long, and 2.7 to 4.0 μm wide (4). Pathogenicity tests of G. acutata were carried out by inoculating six healthy cv. Hass fruits (1) at three evenly spaced locations on the fruit surface with a needle dipped in a conidial mass from a 3-day-old monoconidial culture of G. acutata. Fruits were then incubated in a moist chamber for 3 days. Anthracnose symptoms were observed on healthy fruits inoculated with G. acutata, while control fruits inoculated with sterile water did not develop symptoms. The fungi were reisolated successfully to confirm the pathogen's identity using morphological key. To our knowledge, this is the first report of G. acutata causing anthracnose on avocado fruits in Mexico.
References: (1) R. Guetsky et al. Phytopathology 95:1341, 2005. (2) W. F. T. Hartill. N. Z. J. Crop Hortic. Sci. 19:297, 1991. (3) D. Prusky. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 34:413, 1996. (4) J. H. Simmonds. Qld. J. Agric. Anim. Sci. 22:437, 1965.
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