In October 2012, symptoms of cavity spot (1) were observed on roots of two 50 ha, Red Core Chantenay processing carrot (Daucus carota L. subsp. sativus (Hoffm.)) crops in the Columbia Basin of central Washington. Symptoms consisted of sunken, elliptical lesions (3 to 15 mm long) on the root surface. Approximately 6% of the roots in each crop were affected, which was sufficient to present sorting problems for the processor. Symptomatic roots were washed thoroughly in tap water, and then small sections of tissue from the lesion margins were removed aseptically and plated onto water agar (WA) without surface-sterilization. Isolates with morphological characteristics typical of Pythium sulcatum Pratt & Mitchell (2) were obtained consistently from the symptomatic tissue. The genus and species identity of seven isolates was confirmed by sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 1-5.8S-ITS2 region of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) using universal eukaryotic primers UN-UP18S42 and UN-LO28S576B with the PCR protocol described by Schroeder et al. (3). The ITS consensus sequences of the seven isolates (Accession Nos. KF509939 to KF509945) were 98 to 99% homologous to ITS sequences of P. sulcatum in GenBank. Pathogenicity of all seven isolates was confirmed by inoculating mature carrot roots of cv. Bolero. Each root was washed with tap water, sprayed to runoff with 70% isopropanol, and dried in a laminar flow hood on sterilized paper toweling. The roots were then placed in plastic bins lined with paper toweling moistened with sterilized, deionized water. Each root was inoculated by placing two 5 mm-diameter agar plugs, taken from the edge of an actively growing WA culture of the appropriate isolate, on the root surface approximately 3 cm apart. Non-colonized agar plugs were used for a non-inoculated control treatment. Four replicate roots were inoculated for each isolate and the control treatment. After inoculation, the roots were misted with sterilized, deionized water, a lid was placed on each bin, and the roots were incubated in the dark at 22°C. Roots were misted daily to maintain high relative humidity. Dark, sunken lesions were first observed 3 days post-inoculation on roots inoculated with the P. sulcatum isolates, and all inoculated roots displayed cavity spot lesions by 7 days. No symptoms were observed on the non-inoculated control roots. Colonies with morphology typical of P. sulcatum were re-isolated from the symptomatic tissue of roots inoculated with the P. sulcatum isolates, and the species identity of the re-isolates was confirmed by ITS rDNA sequence analysis, as described above. Although P. sulcatum is one of several Pythium species that can cause cavity spot of carrot (1), to our knowledge, this is the first report of P. sulcatum causing cavity spot in Washington State, which has the largest acreage of processing carrot crops in the United States (4).
References: (1) R. M. Davis and R. N. Raid. Compendium of Umbelliferous Crop Diseases. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 2002. (2) A. J. van der Plaats-Niterink. Monograph of the Genus Pythium. Stud. Mycol. No. 21. CBS, Baarn, The Netherlands, 1981. (3) K. L. Schroeder et al. Phytopathology 96:637, 2006. (4) E. J. Sorensen. Crop Profile for Carrots in Washington State. U.S. Dept. Agric. National Pest Manage. Centers, 2000.