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.
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