A leaf spot was observed on cruciferous weeds growing in a cabbage field located in Geneva, NY, on 1 August 1996. The leaf spots on the weeds were dark gray to black in color and varied in size from pinpoints to 1 mm in diameter. The cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.) was infected with Alternaria brassicicola (Schwein.) Wiltshire, the cause of Alternaria leaf spot. The weeds were identified as Thlaspi arvense L., a winter annual commonly referred to as field pennycress, stinkweed, or fanweed depending on geographic location. Isolations from the diseased weed tissue yielded A. brassicicola (2). The numerous conidia occurred in chains of 10 or more, ranged in size from 14 to 53 μm in length, were 5 to 18 μm wide, contained from 1 to 6 transverse septa with rare longitudinal septa, and were olivaceous in color. An apical beak was absent. On potato dextrose agar (PDA) the colony was dark olive-green to black in color and velvety. Seed was collected from the T. arvense plannts in the spring of 1997. One hundred seeds were placed in petri plates containing PDA amended with 0.01% of chloramphenicol and streptomycin sulfate. A. brassicicola was not isolated from the seeds. A different area of the field was planted to cabbage in 1997 and the cruciferous weeds were allowed to grow. The 1997 population of T. arvense consisted of plants from the previous season that flowered early and plants from seeds that germinated late in the season but did not flower. A. brassicicola was isolated from nonflowering weeds in September and from flowering weeds in October. Nonflowering plants were removed from the field in November, planted in pots, and placed in the greenhouse to induce flowering. Identity of both plant populations was confirmed as T. arvense (Warren Lamboy, Cornell University, Geneva, NY). Pathogencity of A. brassicicola isolates from T. arvense was demonstrated on cabbage and T. arvense by following Koch's postulates. Conidia (105) from a 5-day-old culture isolated from T. arvense grown on PDA were atomized onto field pennycress and cabbage plants with a Preval sprayer. The plants were enclosed in plastic bags and put under lathe shading in the greenhouse. The pathogen was reisolated from symptomatic tissue of both plants after 5 days. This weed could serve as a potential source of A. brassicicola inoculum because it is not controlled by herbicides used in crucifer production systems. Alternaria raphani has been reported on T. arvense in Canada (1). This is believed to be the first report of A. brassicicola on T. arvense.
References: (1) K. Mortensen et al. Can. Plant Dis. Surv. 73:129, 1993. (2) P. Neergaard. 1945. Danish Species of Alternaria and Stemphylium. Oxford University Press, London. pp. 137--138.