Dendrobium (Dendrobium candidum Wall. ex Lindl.) is a perennial herb in the Orchidaceae family. It has been used as traditional medicinal plant in China, Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand (2). Fungal disease is one of the most important factors affecting the development of Dendrobium production. During summer 2012, chocolate brown spots were observed on leaves of 2-year-old Dendrobium seedlings in a greenhouse in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, situated at 30.26°N and 120.19°E. Approximately 80% of the plants in each greenhouse were symptomatic. Diseased leaves exhibited irregular, chocolate brown, and necrotic lesions with a chlorotic halo, reaching 0.8 to 3.2 cm in diameter. Affected leaves began to senesce and withered in autumn, and all leaves of diseased plants fell off in the following spring. Symptomatic leaf tissues were cut into small pieces (4 to 5 mm long), surface-sterilized (immersed in 75% ethanol for 30 s, and then 1% sodium hypochlorite for 60 s), rinsed three times in sterilized distilled water, and then cultured on potato dextrose agar (PDA) amended with 30 mg/liter of kanamycin sulfate (dissolved in ddH2O). Petri plates were incubated in darkness at 25 ± 0.5°C, and a grey mycelium with a white border developed after 4 days. Fast-growing white mycelia were isolated from symptomatic leaf samples, and the mycelia became gray-brown with the onset of sporulation after 5 days. Conidia were unicellular, black, elliptical, and 11.4 to 14.3 μm (average 13.1 μm) in diameter. Based on these morphological and pathogenic characteristics, the isolates were tentatively identified as Nigrospora oryzae (1). Genomic DNA was extracted from a representative isolate F12-F, and a ~600-bp fragment was amplified and sequenced using the primers ITS1 and ITS4 (4). BLAST analysis showed that F12-F ITS sequence (Accession No. KF516962) had 99% similarity with the ITS sequence of an N. oryzae isolate (JQ863242.1). Healthy Dendrobium seedlings (4 months old) were used in pathogenicity tests under greenhouse conditions. Leaves were inoculated with mycelial plugs (5 mm in diameter) from a 5-day-old culture of strain F12-F, and sterile PDA plugs served as controls. Seedlings were covered with plastic bags for 5 days and maintained at 25 ± 0.5°C and 80 ± 5% relative humidity. Eight seedlings were used in each experiment, which was repeated three times. After 5 days, typical chocolate brown spots and black lesions were observed on inoculated leaves, whereas no symptoms developed on controls, which fulfilled Koch's postulates. This shows that N. oryzae can cause leaf spot of D. candidum. N. oryzae is a known pathogen for several hosts but has not been previously reported on any species of Dendrobium in China (3). To our knowledge, on the basis of literature, this is the first report of leaf spot of D. candidum caused by N. oryzae in China.
References: (1) H. J. Hudson. Trans. Br. Mycol. Soc. 46:355, 1963. (2) Q. Jin et al. PLoS One. 8(4):e62352, 2013. (3) P. Sharma et al. J. Phytopathol. 161:439, 2013. (4) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, 1990.
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