Chile is considered the third major exporter of kiwifruits (Actinidia deliciosa (A. Chev.) C. F. Liang & A. R. Ferguson) worldwide after Italy and New Zealand (1). The genus Diaporthe Nitschke (anamorph: genus Phomopsis) has been reported as causing postharvest rot in kiwifruit (4). During the current study, 1,400 fruits arbitrarily collected from seven controlled atmosphere (CA) rooms after 90 days of storage conditions (2% O2, 5% CO2) determined that 21.5% of the fruit were affected by decay and 0.86% developed symptoms different than those caused by Botrytis cinerea, the main postharvest pathogen associated to kiwifruit. Symptoms were soft rot with brown skin that started at the stem-end and in severe cases affected the entire fruit. Internally, affected fruit showed browning and watery tissues. Twelve affected fruits were surface disinfested (75% ethanol) and small pieces of internal rotten tissues were placed on acidified potato dextrose agar (APDA) for 7 days at 20°C. Twelve isolates were obtained, and four of them were identified morphologically and molecularly as Diaporthe ambigua, a species that has been previously described causing rot in stored kiwifruits in Chile (2). However, eight other flat, white to grayish colonies with sparse dirty-white aerial mycelium at the edge of the dish were obtained (3). Black pycnidia contained unicellular, hyaline, biguttulate, oval to cylindrical alpha conidia, with obtuse ends of (7.9) 6.7 (5.3) × (2.9) 2.5 (2.1) μm (n = 30). These isolates were tentatively identified as a Diaporthe sp. The species identification was determined by sequencing comparison of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) region of the rDNA (GenBank Accession Nos. KJ210020 to 24, KJ210027, and KJ210033) and a portion of beta-tubulin (BT) (KJ210034 to 38, KJ210041, and KJ210047) using primers ITS4-ITS5 and Bt2a-Bt2b, respectively. BLAST analyses showed 99 to 100% identity with D. novem J.M. Santos, Vrandecic & A.J.L Phillips reference ex-type (KC343156 and KC344124 for ITS and BT, respectively) (3). Eighteen mature kiwifruits cv. Hayward were inoculated using a sterile cork borer on the surface of the fruit and placing 5-mm agar plugs with mycelial of D. novem (DN-1-KF). An equal number of fruits treated with sterile agar plugs were used as negative controls. After 30 days at 0°C under CA, all inoculated fruit showed rot symptoms with lesions 7.8 to 16.4 mm in diameter. The same D. novem isolate was inoculated with 30 μl of a conidial suspension (106 conidia/ml) on the surface of 18 ripe kiwifruits that were previously wounded and non-wounded as described above. An equal number of wounded and non-wounded fruits, treated with 30 μl sterile water, were used as negative controls. All inoculated wounded fruits developed rot symptoms with necrotic lesions of 14.1 to 20.2 mm of diameter after 14 days at 25°C. Inoculated non-wounded and negative control fruits remained symptomless. Koch's postulates were fulfilled by re-isolating D. novem only from the symptomatic fruits. To our knowledge, this is the first report of rot caused by D. novem on kiwifruit during cold storage in Chile and worldwide. Therefore, both Diaporthe species appears to be associated to Diaporthe rot of kiwifruit in Chile.
References: (1) Belrose, Inc. World Kiwifruit Review. Belrose, Inc. Publishers, Pullman, WA, 2012. (2) J. Auger et al. Plant Dis. 97:843, 2013. (3) R. Gomes et al. Persoonia 31:1, 2013. (4) L. Luongo et al. J. Plant Pathol. 93:205, 2011.
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