Sanqi (Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F. H. Chen) is planted on >10,000 ha in China and is a popular Chinese medicinal material (2). Black root rot is a recently identified but worsening problem on Sanqi since 2010 in Wenshan, China. Of the plant tubers examined from 185 ha, 8.5 to 27.4% were black with necrotic lesions. The base of leaves of infected plants had brown, sunken, necrotic lesions, and symptomatic plants had one to three chlorotic leaves. A fungus was isolated consistently from the basal leaves, bulb, and tubers of symptomatic plants. Six single-spore isolates were cultured on potato sucrose agar (PSA) at 25 ± 1°C in the dark. The mycelium of each culture was white initially on PSA, and then became rust-colored. The adaxial surfaces of the plates were black. Conidiophores were 13.6 to 167.3 × 1.4 to 21.8 μm (avg. 68.6 × 2.9 μm), single or with up to four levels of branching and two to three branches (or phialides) per level. The basal branches were often divergent, whereas the terminal branches were usually more appressed. Sporodochia were not present. Microconidia were 0-septate, 4.1 to 9.5 × 2.7 to 4.1 μm (avg. 8.2 × 2.9 μm). Conidia were 1- to 3-septate and occasionally 4-septate. One- to 3-septate conidia were clavate, with a truncate or slightly protruding conidial base, 9.2 to 40.8 × 3.5 to 6.8 μm (avg. 26.7 × 5.2 μm); whereas 4-septate conidia were 32.6 to 50.3 × 5.4 to 6.8 μm (avg. 40.9 × 6.5 μm). Chlamydospores were abundant, golden to brown, single or in chains or clumps, and up to 21.8 μm in diameter. PCR amplification was carried out for one isolate, RR926, using rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) primer pairs ITS1F and ITS4 (4). Sequencing of the PCR product (GenBank Accession No. KC904953) revealed 99% similarity (99% coverage) with the ITS sequence of Cylindrocarpon destructans var. destructans (AM419065). Phylogenetic analysis (MEGA 4.1) using the neighbor-joining algorithm placed the isolate in a well-supported cluster (>90% bootstrap value based on 1,000 replicates) with AM419065. Therefore, the pathogen was identified as C. destructans (Zinssm.) Scholten var. destructans (teleomorph Ilyonectria radicicola (Gerlach & L. Nilsson) P. Chaverri & C. Salgado) based on morphological characteristics and rDNA-ITS sequence analysis (1,3). Pathogenicity tests of the six isolates were conducted on five 1-year-old and five 3-year-old plants/isolate. The roots of all plants were washed with sterilized water, and then surface-sterilized with 75% ethanol. Inoculum (1 ml of 106 conidia/ml) of each isolate was brushed onto the roots of each plant with a paintbrush. Inoculated plants were planted in pots in a mixture of sterilized quartz sand:vermiculite:pearlite (2:1:1, v/v). The pots were placed under black shadecloth. The roots of five 1-year-old and five 3-year-old plants were brushed similarly with sterilized water as control treatments. After 30 days, symptoms similar to those on the original diseased plants were observed on the roots of all plants inoculated with the six isolates. The roots of non-inoculated plants remained healthy. The experiment was repeated. The same pathogen was re-isolated from the inoculated plants, but no pathogen was isolated from roots of the control plants. C. destructans var. destructans is widely distributed in soils (1), but to our knowledge, this is the first report of this fungus causing black root rot of Sanqi in China.
References: (1) P. Charerri et al. Stud. Mycol. 68:57, 2011. (2) C. Y. Hu. New Rural Technol. 2:59, 2013 (in Chinese). (3) K. A. Seifert and P. E. Axelrood. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 20:115, 1998. (4) K. A. Seifert et al. Phytopathology 93:1533, 2003.
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