Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill) is a perennial plant belonging to Magnoliaceae. It is a very important medicinal herb in China and is mainly used for treatment of insomnia and memory decay. From July to September 2008, an unknown leaf blight and fruit rot on schisandra were first observed at Jingyu County, Jilin Province. The same symptoms were detected in other areas of Jilin Province, such as Ji'an City, Baishan City, and Hunchun City. Initially, some small, brown spots appeared on the tip or margin of the leaves. Light brown or brown necrotic lesions developed and eventually covered entire leaves. Seriously affected leaves were rolled or distorted and eventually became completely dry and brittle. Small spots appeared on the surface of mature fruits, coalesced, and the fruits finally dropped. Gray mycelia and conidiophores developed on the diseased leaves and fruits. To isolate the causal agent, conidia and conidiophores were scraped aseptically from the internal tissues, suspended in sterile water, and streaked onto the surface of potato dextrose agar (PDA). Single-hyphal tips were transferred on PDA and the isolated fungus was identified as Botrytis cinerea Pers.: Fr. on the basis of its morphological characteristics and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence. Colonies of B. cinerea on PDA were colorless at first and became gray to brown 20 days later with the mycelium growth and conidia producing in cultures. Conidia are single celled, lemon shaped, colorless to a light color, and 4.4 to 15.0 × 7.0 to 10.0 μm. Sclerotia formed about 1 week later, were black-brown and varied in size (2.0 to 5.0 × 2.0 to 4.0 mm) and shape. The ITS region of rDNA was amplified from DNA extracted from single-spore isolate BC12 of B. cinerea using primers ITS4/ITS5 and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. GU724512), BLAST analysis (1) of the 535-bp segment showed 99% similarity with the sequence of Botryotinia fuckeliana (perfect stage of B. cinerea). Pathogenicity tests were carried out on healthy schisandra plants that were 4 years old. After the surface of the leaves and fruits was disinfected with 5% sodium hypochlorite, a conidial suspension of 105 conidia/ml was sprayed on 10 schisandra leaves, and plugs of the fungus obtained from the colony margins were transferred onto a 3- × 3-mm wound on the surface of disinfected fruit. Ten control schisandra leaves and 10 fruits were inoculated at the same time. Plants were covered with polyethylene bags and incubated at 25°C in a greenhouse with relative humidity of 85% for 3 days. Similar symptoms to those observed on diseased leaves and fruits in the field were observed on inoculated schisandra leaves and fruits 7 days after inoculation, whereas control leaves and fruits showed no symptoms. The pathogen was successfully reisolated. The gray mold disease caused by B. cinerea was reported in many plants, such as Lavandula stoechas and Chamelaucium uncinatum in Italy (2,3). However, to our knowledge, this is the first report of gray mold disease of schisandra caused by B. cinerea in China.
References: (1) S. F. Altschul et al. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389, 1997. (2) A. Garibaldi et al. Plant Dis. 94:968, 2009. (3) A. Garibaldi et al. Plant Dis. 94:380, 2010.
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