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Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Lifestyles in Colletotrichum acutatum from Strawberry and Other Plants

October 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  10
Pages  986 - 992

Stanley Freeman , Sigal Horowitz , and Amir Sharon

First and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology, ARO., The Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; and third author: Department of Plant Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

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Accepted for publication 6 July 2001.

Anthracnose is one of the major fungal diseases of strawberry occurring worldwide. In Israel, the disease is caused primarily by the species Colletotrichum acutatum. The pathogen causes black spot on fruit, root necrosis, and crown rot resulting in mortality of transplants in the field. The host range and specificity of C. acutatum from strawberry was examined on pepper, eggplant, tomato, bean, and strawberry under greenhouse conditions. The fungus was recovered from all plant species over a 3-month period but caused disease symptoms only on strawberry. Epiphytic and endophytic (colonization) fungal growth in the different plant species was confirmed by reisolation from leaf tissues and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-specific primer amplification. C. acutatum was also isolated from healthy looking, asymptomatic plants of the weed genera Vicia and Conyza. Isolates that were recovered from the weeds caused disease symptoms on strawberry and were positively identified as C. acutatum by PCR. The habitation of a large number of plant species, including weeds, by C. acutatum suggests that, although it causes disease only on strawberry and anemone in Israel, this fungus can persist on many other plant species. Therefore, plants that are not considered hosts of C. acutatum may serve as a potential inoculum source for strawberry infection and permit survival of the pathogen between seasons.

Additional keywords: anthracnose , C. gloeosporioides , detection , internal transcribed spacer region , quiescent infection , species-specific primers .

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society