Botrytis cinerea Pers. is the causal agent of gray mold and one of the most economically important plant-pathogenic fungi affecting strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa). Control of gray mold mainly depends on the use of site-specific fungicides, including the phenylpyrrole fludioxonil. This fungicide is currently registered in combination with cyprodinil in form of Switch 62.5WG (Syngenta Crop Protection, Greensboro, NC) for gray mold control of small fruits in the United States. In June 2013, strawberries affected with symptoms resembling gray mold were observed despite the application of Switch in one field located in Federalsburg, MD, and one located near Chesnee, SC. Ten single-spore isolates, each from a different fruit, were obtained from each location and confirmed to be B. cinerea using cultural and molecular tools as described previously (3). In vitro sensitivity to fludioxonil (Scholar SC, 20.4% [v/v] active ingredient, Syngenta Crop Protection, Greensboro, NC) was determined using a conidial germination assay as previously described (4). Eight of the 20 isolates (six from Maryland and two from South Carolina) were moderately resistant to fludioxonil, i.e., they grew on medium amended with 0.1 μg/ml fludixonil and showed residual growth at 10 μg/ml (4). The in vitro assay was repeated obtaining the same results. To assess in vivo sensitivity on fungicide-treated fruit, commercially grown strawberries were rinsed with water, dried, and sprayed 4 h prior to inoculation with either water or 2.5 ml/liter of Scholar SC to runoff using a hand mister. Fruit was stab-wounded with a sterile syringe and inoculated with a 30-μl droplet of conidia suspension (106 spores/ml) of either two sensitive or four resistant isolates (two isolates from Maryland and two isolates from South Carolina). Each isolate/treatment combination consisted of 24 mature but still firm strawberry fruit with three 8-fruit replicates. The fruit were kept at 22°C and lesion diameters were measured after 4 days of inoculation. The sensitive isolates developed gray mold symptoms on nontreated (2.5 cm lesion diameter) but not on Scholar SC-treated fruit. The resistant isolates developed gray mold on both, the water-treated control (2.3 cm lesion diameter), and the fungicide-treated fruit (1.8 cm lesion diameter). The experiment was performed twice. To our knowledge this is the first report of fludioxonil resistance in B. cinerea from strawberry fields in Maryland and South Carolina. Resistance to fludioxonil is still rare in the United States and has only been reported in B. cinerea isolates from a Virginia strawberry field (1). The increase in occurrence of resistance to fludioxonil may be a result of increased use of Switch following reports of resistance to other chemical classes in this pathogen in southern strawberry fields (2).
References: (1) D. Fernández-Ortuño et al. Plant Dis. 97:848, 2013. (2) D. Fernández-Ortuño et al. Plant Dis. 96:1198, 2012. (3) D. Fernández-Ortuño et al. Plant Dis. 95:1482, 2011. (4) R. W. S. Weber and M. Hahn. J. Plant Dis. Prot. 118:17, 2011.
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