Pomelo (Citrus grandis) is widely cultivated in MeiZhou Guangdong Province of China. In 2008, a disease on pomelo fruit caused significant economic losses by affecting fruit quality. Diseased fruit was collected in December 2008 from MeiZhou Guangdong, surface sterilized in 75% ethanol for 1 min and internal necrotic tissue was transferred to potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 28°C for 5 days. Three single-spore isolates were obtained from different fruit and identified as Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Maubl. (synonyms Diplodia natalensis Pole-Evans and Botryodiplodia theobromae Pat.; teleomorph Botryosphaeria rhodina (Cooke) Arx) on the basis of morphological and physiological features. The fungus produced dark brown colonies (initially grayish) on PDA. Young hyphae were hyaline and aseptate, whereas mature hyphae were septate with irregular branches. Cultures of L. theobromae produced globular or irregular pycnidia abundantly on PDA (pH 3.5) at 28°C after 1 month. Mature conidia of L. theobromae were 20 to 26 × 12 to 15.5 μm, subovoid to ellipsoid-ovoid, initially hyaline and nonseptate, remaining hyaline for a long time, and finally becoming dark brown and one septate with melanin deposits on the inner surface of the wall arranged longitudinally giving a striate appearance to the conidia. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the rDNA was amplified from gDNA using primers ITS1 (5′-TCCGATGGTGAACCTGCGG-3′) and ITS4 (5′-TCCTCCGCTTATTGATATGC-3′) (1). Amplicons were 542 bp long (GenBank Accession No. JF693024) and had 100% nucleotide identity with the corresponding sequence (GenBank Accession No. EU860391) of L. theobromae isolated from a Pinus sp. (2). To satisfy Koch's postulates, six asymptomatic fruit on potted plants were sprayed until runoff with a spore suspension (1 × 106 spores/ml) prepared from 30-day-old cultures of one isolate. Control fruit received water. Plants were covered with sterile wet gauze to maintain high humidity. Fruit spot symptoms similar to those on diseased field fruit appeared after 15 days on all inoculated fruits. L. theobromae was reisolated from all inoculated test fruit. No symptoms were observed on the fruit of control plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of L. theobromae causing disease on pomelo fruit in China. This pathogen has also been previously reported to be economically important on a number of other hosts by mostly affecting the leaves.
References: (1) J. C. Batzer et al. Mycologia 97:1268, 2005. (2) C. A. Pérez et al. Fungal Divers. 41:53,2010.