Department of Plant Pathology, ARO, The Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
Strawberry anthracnose was observed for the first time in Israel in 1995. The disease reached epidemic proportions in Israeli nurseries and production fields in 1995 and 1996. Using morphological and cultural characteristics, the species responsible for anthracnose was identified as Colletotrichum acutatum. A reliable semi-selective medium, amended with iprodione and lactic acid, was used to isolate the fungus from infected tissues. In addition, C. acutatum was subsequently isolated from necrotic roots of stunted, chlorotic plants that exhibited no symptoms of anthracnose. High levels of the pathogen from naturally infested field soil and perlite growth substrate were quantified from the rhizosphere of diseased plants on the iprodione-amended medium. Both foliar- and rootinfecting isolates were equally pathogenic to strawberry, causing 95 to 100% plant mortality, when inoculated on roots and foliage. In complementation (heterokaryon) tests using nitrate nonutilizing mutants, 113 out of 115 isolates from different plant parts and locations belonged to a single vegetative compatibility group. Arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction of genomic DNA using four repetitive-motif primers produced nearly uniform amplified DNA banding patterns for 141 of the Israeli strawberry isolates from different sites, plots, plant tissues, and cultivars. When compared to reference isolates from the US, these band patterns suggested that a single introduction of C. acutatum was responsible for strawberry anthracnose on foliage and necrosis of roots in Israel.