On January 12th, 2012, a novel disease with an incidence of 50% was discovered in Pindo palm Butia capitata (Mart.) Becc from the Coconut Grant View Garden (19°33.137′ N, 110°47.482′ E) located in Wenchang, Hainan Province. Diseased leaflets at the base of the rotted heart leaves had reddish brown lesions; when the infection progressed, the leaves turned yellow and became blighted from the inner to the outer part of the crown. Once the growing point was destroyed, the entire tree ultimately died. Tissues from the edges of lesions from diseased leaflet samples were placed onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 25°C for 3 days. The color of colonies of five isolates obtained turned from white to black in 48 h. The optimum temperature for mycelium growth was from 20 to 30°C, and no growth occurred at temperatures higher than 40°C or lower than 5°C (n = 5). The cylindrical colorless to pale brown conidia were 7.5 to 17.5 μm long × 5.0 to 7.5 μm wide (n = 100); oval black chlamydospores were 12.5 to 22.5 × 7.5 to 15.0 μm (n = 100). The sequence (497 bp) of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the representative isolate BX3 (China Center for Type Culture Collection No. CCTCC AF2014002) was amplified using primer pair ITS1/ITS4 (GenBank Accession No. KF939052) and shared 99% sequence identity with Ceratocystis paradoxa strain xie331-4 (JQ039332). Based upon these biological characteristics and ITS sequence, this pathogen was identified as C. paradoxa (Dade) C. Moreau (anamorph Thielaviopsis paradoxa (de Seynes) Höhn.) (3). Pathogenicity tests were conducted on 8-cm-long sections of young leaflets excised from a 12-year-old pindo palm tree. One side of the midrib of 10 sections was wounded with a sterilized scalpel at the center and the other side was non-wounded, then a PDA plug (4 to 6 × 4 to 6 mm) from the edge of an actively growing colony of BX3 incubated for 3 days were inoculated onto each wounded or non-wounded site. As controls, plain PDA plugs were placed on wounded and non-wounded spots of another 10 sections following the above procedure. Pathogenicity was tested twice. Each inoculated section was then put into a 9-cm petri dish in which two filter papers (Φ = 9 cm) were placed and 8 ml of sterile water were added to maintain high humidity, and then all dishes were placed in a dark incubator at 25°C. After 5 days, typical symptoms developed only on the wounded points inoculated with mycelium plugs. C. paradoxa was re-isolated from the margins of the expanding lesions. C. paradoxa causing fruit rot of B. capitata was reported in Uruguay (2), but to our knowledge, there are no previous reports of this species in China or infecting leaves of B. capitata worldwide (1). We report here a new Ceratocystis disease on B. capitata, and it was named as pindo palm heart rot based on its symptoms.
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/, Feb 21, 2014. (2) V. Gepp et al. New Dis. Rep. 27:12, 2013. (3) F. Y. Yu et al. Plant Dis. 96:290, 2012.
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