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First Report of Premature Boll Rot Associated with Cotton in Louisiana

June 1998 , Volume 82 , Number  6
Pages  711.1 - 711.1

K. S. McLean , Department of Agriculture, Northeast Louisiana University, Monroe 71209 ; and G. W. Lawrence , Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State 39762

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Accepted for publication 2 April 1998.

A premature boll rot has been observed with increasing frequency in association with cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) in the Delta region of Louisiana-Mississippi. The initial developing cotton boll, sepals, and peduncle rapidly become necrotic and mummified. A dark brown to black lesion approximately 1 cm in length develops at the base of the peduncle, extending down the petiole below the diseased cotton boll. The diseased boll and peduncle remain attached to the petiole, hanging by a small portion of peduncle tissue. In an initial survey, the symptomatic boll rot was observed in 95% of the cotton fields in the Delta in 1996. A Phomopsis sp. was isolated from 58% of the diseased bolls, 42% of the cotton boll peduncles, and 52% of the leaf petioles collected from three cotton varieties. Fusarium spp. and Alternaria alternata were isolated from the diseased bolls with a frequency of 18 and 11%, respectively. Phomopsis sp. mycelium is dense, immersed, septate, and hyaline to pale brown in color. Stromata are pulvinate, less than 5 mm in diameter and form in a ring pattern. Pycinidia are erumpet, dark brown to black, separate or aggregated, and globose with ostiolate necks. Conidia are unicellular and hyaline, with alpha conidia oblong-elliptical and biguttulate while beta conidia are filiform and hamate in shape. The ratio of alpha to beta spores varies depending on the age of the culture. Pathogenicity tests with the sterile toothpick inoculation technique were conducted in a field planted with cotton cv. DPL 50. Developing cotton bolls approximately 5 to 8 mm in diameter were inoculated with either sterile toothpicks or toothpicks infested with a Phomopsis sp. Characteristic symptoms identical to the original boll rot were observed on 80% of the inoculated bolls 7 days after inoculation. A Phomopsis sp. was reisolated from the diseased bolls, completing Koch's postulates. No symptoms developed nor was the pathogen reisolated from the controls.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society