Pineapple (Ananas comosus L. Merril.) is the main plant of the Bromeliaceae, cultivated economically for the fruits' appealing flavor and a refreshing sugar-acid balance. In 2013, fruits with no initially visible symptoms began to show a postharvest rot after 3 days in a market in the municipality of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The rot can rarely be detected from the outside of the fruit, but a longitudinal section allows observation of extension of the affected area toward the center of the fruit. The symptoms initially appear as a dark brown to black rot on surface of the fruits, which gradually enlarges in size, leading to increased rot and disposal of infected fruits. Until now, this disease occurred sporadically and caused small losses. A fungus was isolated from rot observed in fruits from cultivar Pérola and a single-spore culture was deposited in the culture collection of the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Accession No. COAD 1588). After 7 days of incubation at 25°C, the strain displayed radial growth and gray-white to black colonies. Microscopic observations revealed brown to light brown conidiophores present singly or in groups. The septate, simple or rarely branched conidiophores are straight or curved, up to 245 μm long and 5 μm wide, and some have a geniculate growth pattern near the apex. The conidia are ellipsoidal or barrel-shaped and 22 to 25 μm long and 10 to 12.5 μm wide. The median septum appears as a black band and the cells at each end of the conidia are pale, whereas the intermediate cells are brown or dark brown. Based on morphological characteristics, the fungus was identified as Curvularia eragrostidis (4). To confirm this identification, DNA was extracted and sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS), 28S and 18S rDNA regions were obtained and deposited in GenBank (Accession Nos. KJ541818 to KJ541820). The sequence of the ITS region exhibited 99% identity over 530 bp with other C. eragrostidis sequence in GenBank (JN943449) and Bayesian inference analysis placed our isolate in the same clade with others C. eragrostidis (study S15670 deposited in TreeBASE). Koch's postulates were conducted by inoculating six fruits of pineapple previously disinfected with 2% sodium hypochlorite and washed in sterile distilled water. For inoculation, the isolate was grown in potato dextrose agar (PDA) for 15 days at 25°C. Six millimeter diameter disks were removed from the surface of fruits with a sterile cork borer and replaced with PDA disks containing mycelia from the margins of the culture. An agar plug was deposited in three control fruits and all fruits were maintained at 25°C in plastic trays. Inoculated fruits showed symptoms 7 days after inoculation that were similar to those initially observed in the infected fruits, while control fruits showed no symptoms. C. eragrostidis is a cosmopolitan pathogen that infects hosts from several botanical families (2,4). In Brazil, this fungus causes leaf spot on A. comosus (3) and also infects Allium sativum, Dioscorea alata, D. cayenensis, Oryza sativa, Sorghum bicolor, Vigna unguiculata, and Zea mays (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. eragrostidis causing postharvest rot disease in pineapple in Brazil. Because invasion of the fungus can occur through minute fractures, fruits should be carefully handled to avoid mechanical damage.
References: (1) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, ARS, USDA. Retrieved from http://nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases, 18 February 2014. (2) D. S. Manamgoda et al. Fungal Divers. 51:3, 2011. (3) J. J. Ponte et al. Fitopatologia 10:21, 1975. (4) A. Sivanesan. Mycological Papers 158:113, 1987.
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