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Morphological and Molecular Analysis of Fusarium lateritium, the Cause of Gray Necrosis of Hazelnut Fruit in Italy

June 2011 , Volume 101 , Number  6
Pages  679 - 686

S. Vitale, A. Santori, E. Wajnberg, P. Castagnone-Sereno, L. Luongo, and A. Belisario

First, second, fifth, and sixth authors: CRA-PAV Centro di Ricerca per la Patologia Vegetale, Via C. G. Bertero 22, 00156 Roma, Italy; and third and fourth authors: INRA UMR1301-UNSA-CNRS UMR6243, 400 Route des Chappes, BP 167, 06903 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France.

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Accepted for publication 14 January 2011.

Fusarium lateritium is a globally distributed plant pathogen. It was recently reported as the causal agent of nut gray necrosis (NGN) on hazelnut. Isolate characterization within F. lateritium was undertaken to investigate how morphological and molecular diversity was associated with host and geographic origin. Morphological studies combined with inter-simple-sequence repeat (ISSR) analysis, and phylogenetic analyses using translation elongation factor 1α (TEF-1α), β-tubulin genes, and nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences were conducted to resolve relationships among 32 F. lateritium isolates from NGN-affected hazelnut fruit, and 14 from other substrates or 8 from other hosts than hazelnut. Colonies of F. lateritium from hazelnut showed dark grayish-olive differing from the orange-yellow color of all other isolates from other hosts. Generally, isolates from NGN-affected fruit failed to produce sporodochia on carnation leaf agar. The influence of host and substrate on the genetic structure of F. lateritium was supported by ISSR and analyzed with principal coordinates analysis. A relationship between hazelnut and genetic variation was inferred. Phylogenetic analysis of ITS provided limited resolution while TEF-1α and β-tubulin analyses allowed a clear separation between the European and non-European F. lateritium isolates retrieved from GenBank, regardless of host. Though morphological traits of F. lateritium isolates from hazelnut were generally uniform in defining a typical morphogroup, they were not yet phylogenetically defined. In contrast, the typology related to slimy deep orange cultures, due to spore mass, grouped clearly separated from the other F. lateritium isolates and revealed a congruence between morphology and phylogeny.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society