In the fall of 2009, damping-off of Pinus radiata seedlings was observed in a pine nursery in Sant Feliu de Buixalleu, Girona Province, northeastern Spain. Plants exhibited needle blight, extensive root necrosis, and root death. Root sections of symptomatic plants were cut, washed under running tap water, surface disinfected for 1 min in a 1.5% sodium hypochlorite solution, and washed twice with sterile distilled water. Small fragments of discolored tissues were plated onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) supplemented with 0.5 g liter–1 of streptomycin sulfate. Plates were placed at 25°C in the dark for 10 to 14 days, and all fungal colonies were transferred to PDA. A Cylindrocarpon sp. was consistently isolated from necrotic root tissues. Single-conidial isolates were obtained and grown on PDA and Spezieller Nährstoffarmer agar (SNA) (2) at 25°C for 10 days with a 12-h photoperiod. On PDA, the isolates developed abundant mycelium, which varied from white-to-grayish brown or golden brown. On SNA, all isolates produced two-septate, (35-) 39.4 (-40) × (7.5-) 7.7 (-8.75) μm, and three-septate, (32.5-) 40.9 (-52.5) × (7.5-) 7.7 (-8.75) μm, macroconidia. Microconidia, one-septate macroconidia, and chlamydospores were not observed. Identity of these isolates was determined by a multiplex PCR system using a set of three pair of specific primers (Mac1/MaPa2, Lir1/Lir2, and Pau1/MaPa2) (1), which generated a 117-bp product that was characteristic of Cylindrocarpon pauciseptatum Schroers & Crous. Morphological characteristics also supported this identification (4). Internal transcribed spacers regions (ITS1 and ITS4) of rDNA were obtained for isolate 1052 and deposited in GenBank (Accession No. HQ441248). This sequence was identical (100%) with the sequence of C. pauciseptatum (GenBank Accession No. HM036590). Pathogenicity tests were conducted with inoculum produced on wheat kernels that were soaked in distilled water in flasks for 12 h. Each flask contained 200 ml of kernels that were subsequently autoclaved three times after excess water was drained. Two fungal disks from a 2-week-old culture of C. pauciseptatum (isolate 1052) grown on PDA were placed aseptically in each flask. Cultures in flasks were incubated at 25°C for 4 weeks and shaken once a week. A plastic pot (220 cm3) was filled with a mixture of sterilized peat moss and 10 g of inoculum. A 1-month-old seedling of P. radiata was planted in plastic pots and placed in a greenhouse at 25 to 30°C in a completely randomized design with six replications. Controls contained sterile wheat kernels. The experiment was repeated. Symptoms developed 20 days after inoculation and consisted of root lesions, a reduction in root biomass, needle blight, and the death of all seedlings. The fungus was reisolated from affected seedlings. Damping-off was not observed on the control plants. C. pauciseptatum causing black foot disease of grapevine (3) was first found in Spain in 2008, but to our knowledge, this is the first report of C. pauciseptatum causing damping-off of P. radiata in Spain.
References: (1) S. Alaniz et al. Plant Dis. 93:821, 2009. (2) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2006. (3) M. T. Martin et al. Plant Dis. 95:361, 2011. (4) H. J. Schroers et al. Mycol. Res. 112:82, 2008.
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