Phytophthora decline of riparian alder (Alnus spp.) has been reported in several European countries (2). Death of common alder (Alnus glutinosa) due to Phytophthora alni has also been reported in Spain (4). During several surveys of alder trees in September 2012, typical dieback symptoms, including sparse small yellowish foliage and the presence of rusty exudates on the bark at the collar and lower stem were observed in A. glutinosa growing on the banks of the river Tera (Langa de Duero, Soria, 41°36′34″ N, 3°25′10″ W, elevation 851 m) and the river Tormes (La Maya, Salamanca, 40°41′42″ N, 5°35′36″ W, elevation 833 m). Bark samples plus cambium were taken from the active lesions at collar region, cut into small pieces, dried on filter paper, and plated on V8-PARPH agar (2). The samples were incubated for 4 days at 20°C in the dark before obtaining the Phytophthora isolates. Colonies developed on V8 juice agar (V8A) had limited aerial mycelium at the center and displayed radiate and slightly chrysanthemum-like growth pattern. Mycelial growth was optimal at 25°C (radial growth rate, 8.2 mm d–1), whereas no growth was observed at 32°C. Isolates were homothallic with paragynous antheridia, smooth-walled spherical (very rarely elongated) oogonia (22.8 to 30.6 μm diam.) and both plerotic and aplerotic golden brown oospores (21.3 to 28.5 μm diam.). In non-sterile soil extracts, the isolates produced abundant sporangia (31.5 to 57.2 × 21.3 to 38.4 μm; length:breadth ratio 1.2 to 1.6) borne terminally on unbranched or sympodial sporagiophores, occasionally attached laterally to the sporangiophores. Sporagia were non-caducous, semipapillate, mainly ovoid and obpyriform, obovoid to limoniform but sometimes distorted with two apices. On the basis of the morpho-physiological features, the isolates resembled P. plurivora (formerly identified as P. citricola) (3). To confirm this, genomic DNA was extracted and subjected to PCR. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the rDNA was amplified using the ITS-6 (5′ GAAGGTGAAGTCGTAACAAGG 3′) and ITS-4 (5′ TCCTCCGCTTATTGATATGC 3′) primers before sequencing (Secugen, Madrid, Spain). The sequences were deposited in the EMBL/GenBank database (Accession Nos. KF413074 and KF413075). In order to perform the pathogenicity test, 10 A. glutinosa seedlings (2 years old) per isolate were inoculated by using the under-bark inoculation technique (1) and 10 control seedlings were inoculated with V8A. Seedlings were incubated in a growth chamber at 22.5°C with a 14-h photoperiod. Three months after inoculation, all inoculated plants wilted and died, whereas the control plants showed no disease symptoms. To fulfill Koch's postulates, the pathogen was re-isolated from the necrotic lesions developed around inoculation points, thus confirming its pathogenicity. P. plurivora has been found to be present in rhizosphere soil beneath Alnus spp. and to cause aerial canker and collar rot on alder trees in Austria, Germany, and Romania (2,3). Further studies and surveys are essential to determine the distribution, extent of damage, and potential interactions with other alder pathogens (e.g., P. alni). To our knowledge, this is the first record of P. plurivora affecting A. glutinosa in Spain.
References: (1) T. Jung et al. Eur. J. For. Pathol. 26:253, 1996. (2) T. Jung and M. Blaschke. Plant Pathol. 53:197, 2004. (3) T. Jung and T. I. Burgess. Persoonia 22:95, 2009. (4) A. Solla et al. Plant Pathol. 59:798, 2010.
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