Valdensia leaf blight on blueberry in Poland was reported in one commercial nursery plantation near Prażmów, Mazovia voivodship, where heavy defoliation was observed on cv. Bluecrop, grown in nursery pots, in August 2011. Older fruiting bushes were only slightly affected by the disease. Initial symptoms of the disease were small, oval to circular zonated necrosis surrounded with dark brown borders that enlarged on the leaves throughout the canopy. Multicellular, hyaline or light brown, star-shaped conidiospores were observed on the necrotic areas. The mean length of 50 conidiospores from the end of head to the end of arm apex was 307 to 348 μm (4). Eight single-spore isolates of the fungus were obtained. Single conidiospores were picked up from necrotic spots on leaves and transferred with sterile needle on potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 20°C under ambient light. After 10 days of incubation, total DNA was extracted. Amplification of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA was done using primers ITS1F and ITS4A (1). PCRs were carried out as follows: initial denaturation at 94°C for 2 min, denaturation at 94°C for 1 min, annealing at 57°C for 1 min, extension at 72°C for 1 min, and final extension at 72°C for 5 min for 28 cycles (Applied Biosystems Veriti 96 Wel Thermal Cycler). Amplicons, which were approximately 520 bp, were sequenced and nucleotide sequences were analyzed by Clustal W2EBI. The sequences of all eight isolates showed 100% similarity to each other and were compared with sequences stored in GenBank using BLAST. Sequences were 525 bp long and showed 100% homology to Valdensinia heterodoxa Peyronel, Sclerotiniaceae (anamorph: Valdensia heterodoxa Peyronel) from Japan and Norway (Accession Nos. AB663682 and Z81447, respectively) (3). The sequence from one isolate was submitted to GenBank (Accession No. KF212190). To fulfill Koch's postulates, each of the eight isolates was used to inoculate 20 healthy young leaves of Vaccinium corymbosum L. cv. Bluecrop and bilberry (V. myrtillus L.) (10 leaves per plant). Mycelial plugs 5 mm in diameter were taken from PDA cultures, approximately 20 days old, and used as inoculum and placed in the center of each leaf and moistened with sterile distilled water. Mycelium-free plugs were used as control. Inoculated leaves were placed in plastic box and incubated at 20°C in laboratory for 5 days, at which time small necrotic lesions consistent with initial symptoms of the disease were observed. Isolates obtained from these symptoms were morphologically identical to those used for inoculation. Control leaves did not show any disease symptoms. Valdensia leaf blight occurrence may be attributed to rainy July and August 2011 and long presence of water on soil surface. In Poland, Valdensinia heterodoxa causes heavy defoliation of Vaccinium myrtillus in pine stands and is a common pathogen of some herbaceous plants (2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of Valdensia leaf blight on highbush blueberry in Poland.
References: (1) I. Larena et al. 75:187, 1999. (2) W. Mułenko and S. Woodward. Mycologist 10:69, 1996. (3) S. Nekoduka et al. J. Gen. Plant Pathol. 78:151, 2012. (4) S. Zhao and S. F. Shamoun. Mycology 1:113, 2010.
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