Coffea canephora (conilon coffee) represents approximately 30% of the coffee marketed worldwide. The state of Espírito Santo is the largest conilon coffee-producing state in Brazil. In 2013 and 2014, leaves with a leaf spot were observed on most of the conilon coffee seedlings in a commercial nursery in Laranja da Terra, Espírito Santo, Brazil. The infected leaves were deposited in the VIC Herbarium (VIC 42482) and a pure single-spore culture of the pathogen was deposited in the culture collection of the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Accession No. COAD 1729). The initial symptoms were circular, brown to dark brown lesions with yellow margins occurring on both leaf surfaces. In high humidity, concentric rings formed and the lesions expanded rapidly to reach up to 30 mm in diameter, and later became dark brown with a grayish center. Black sporodochia with white, and marginal mycelial tuffs bearing black spore masses were observed in the older lesions. These symptoms were consistent with those of Myrothecium leaf spot reported on Coffea spp. (3). Microscopic observation revealed aseptate, hyaline, and cylindrical conidia, rounded at both ends, greenish to black in mass, and 5 to 6 μm long and 1 to 2 μm wide. The symptoms and morphological characteristics described above matched the description of Myrothecium roridum Tode (4). To confirm this identification, DNA was extracted using a Wizard Genomic DNA Purification Kit and the sequence of an internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was obtained and deposited in GenBank (Accession No. KJ815095). The sequence of the ITS region exhibited 100% identity over 561 bp with another M. roridum sequence in GenBank (JF343832). To verify the pathogenicity of the fungus, healthy leaves of the C. canephora clones 12v and 14 (four seedlings each) were wounded superficially with a sterilized needle and inoculated by spraying them with a suspension of M. roridum conidia (106 conidia ml−1). The seedlings were covered with plastic bags and incubated in a growth chamber at 25°C under a photoperiod of 12 h light/12 h dark for 5 days. The control seedlings were sprayed with distilled water and incubated similarly. Fifteen days after inoculation, symptoms in all inoculated seedlings were consistent with those initially observed on the naturally infected seedlings, whereas the controls remained healthy. Re-isolation and identification confirmed Koch's postulates. M. roridum has a wide host range, and symptoms were similar to those reported in other hosts of the pathogen in Brazil (2,3). There is only one report of M. roridum on C. canephora in Colombia (1); however, this pathogen was previously reported on C. arabica in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands (1,3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of a leaf spot caused by M. roridum on conilon coffee in Brazil. The cultivation of conilon coffee is increasing and the reported leaf spot disease affects the quality of the seedlings in nurseries. It is therefore important to conduct a thorough study of management strategies for this disease.
References: (1) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Syst. Mycol. Microbiol. Lab. ARS, USDA. Retrieved from http://nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases, 27 May 2014. (2) A. M. Quezado Duval et al. Braz. J. Microbiol. 41:246, 2010. (3) S. F. Silveira et al. Fitopatol. Bras. 32:440, 2007. (4) M. Tulloch. Mycol. Pap. No. 130. CMI, Wallingford, UK, 1972.
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