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The Characterization and pathology of Colletotrichum on papaya in South Africa

Nompumelelo Prudence Mtsweni: Agricultural research council, South Africa

<div><em>Colletotrichum </em>species could cause anthracnose of papaya pre- and post-harvest, leading to crop losses worldwide. <em>Colletotrichum</em> isolates collected from infected papaya from various localities in the subtropical fruit producing areas of South Africa are preserved in the National Collection of Fungi. Molecular identification of the isolates was carried out through amplification of the rDNA ITS region. Seven different <em>Colletotrichum</em> species were identified, some of which were not previously recorded from South Africa, and/or not previously recorded from papaya<em>.</em> Pathogenicity tests using selected representative isolates were done by inoculation onto seemingly healthy fruit. The results revealed that various species of <em>Colletotrichum</em> are responsible for papaya anthracnose in South Africa. Sequencing results of the isolates, Koch’s postulates and experiments on the potential to cross-infection of other fruits are presented. Research to develop an early detection method of these pathogens are is underway to prevent crop losses.</div>