In 2011, carrot (Daucus carota L.) seed production occurred on 2,900 ha, which accounts for approximately 25% of the area devoted to the production of vegetable fine seeds. Since 2007, symptoms of umbel browning have been regularly observed in carrot production areas located in the central region. Initially, triangular necrotic lesions appeared on carrot umbels that later spread to the entire umbels and often progressed to the stems. Diseased umbels became dried prematurely, compromising seed development. The loss in seed production was estimated at approximately 8% of the harvested carrot umbels during the cropping seasons of spring and summer 2007 and 2008 in France. In collaboration with seed companies, diseased carrot stems were collected from seven fields of seed production (eight plants per field) and a fungus was isolated from the tissue. The cultures were grown on malt (2%) agar (1.5%) medium and incubated for 2 weeks at 22°C in darkness. Young fungal colonies were white and a brownish green pigmentation developed when the colonies became older. The same color was observed from the top and on the reverse of the colonies. To induce sporulation, isolates were grown on water agar (1.5%) medium in the presence of carrot stem fragments for 1 week at 22°C in darkness, followed by 1 week at 22°C in white light under a 16-h photoperiod. Pycnidia were produced on stem fragments and contained alpha and beta conidia typical of the genus Diaporthe (2). Alternatively, pycnidia were also obtained on malt agar medium after 2 weeks of culture at 25°C in white light under a 12-h photoperiod. The size of alpha and beta conidia was 6.3 ± 0.5 × 2.3 ± 0.4 μm and 23.3 ± 1.8 × 0.9 ± 0.2 μm, respectively (n = 170). In order to confirm the identification at the genus level and determine the species, DNA was extracted from the mycelium of three representative isolates and the ITS regions of the ribosomal DNA were amplified using universal primers (1). The sequences of the amplified products (GenBank Accession Nos. KF240772 to KF240774) were 100% identical with the ITS sequence of a Diaporthe angelicae isolate deposited in the NCBI database (CBS 111592 isolate, KC343027). To confirm pathogenicity, the three isolates of D. angelicae were inoculated on carrot umbels in the greenhouse. A total of nine plants were inoculated (three plants per isolate). Using a micropipette, 10 μl of a conidial suspension containing alpha and beta conidia (105 conidia mL–1) were deposited at the base of the primary umbel and two secondary umbels, which were wounded before inoculation using a scalpel blade. Seven inoculated plants developed triangular, necrotic lesions that were typical umbel browning. D. angelicae was re-isolated on malt agar medium from the inoculated diseased carrot umbels. To our knowledge, this is the first report of D. angelicae in carrot cultivated for seed production in France. The disease resembles the lesions described in the Netherlands in 1951 on carrot inflorescence caused by Phomopsis dauci (3). In future experiments, it would be crucial to precisely determine if D. angelicae could be transmitted to the seeds.
References: (1) M. A. Innis et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 1990. (2) J. M. Santos and A. J. L. Philips. Fungal Divers. 34:111, 2009. (3) J. A. von Arx. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 57:44, 1951.
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