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Severe Outbreak of Stemphylium Leaf Blight, a New Disease of Cotton in Brazil

March 1998 , Volume 82 , Number  3
Pages  333 - 336

Y. R. Mehta , Instituto Agronômico do Paraná-IAPAR, Caixa Postal 481, CEP-8600-970, Londrina, PR., Brazil

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Accepted for publication 22 December 1997.

A severe epidemic of a leaf blight of cotton occurred in the state of Paraná, Brazil, during 1994 and 1995, causing up to 100% yield losses in some commercial fields of cultivar Paraná 3. The severity of the disease among fields was variable and cultivar-dependent. Attempts were made to identify the organism causing the leaf blight symptoms, which were characterized as circular to irregular dark brown to black spots turning reddish brown with age and varying between 2 and 10 mm in diameter. The older lesions showed cracks and/or holes in the center. Severely diseased leaves dried rapidly and abscised. Fructifications of a fungus in the genus Stemphylium were observed on young, as well as on old, lesions. The Stemphylium sp. was consistently isolated on potato dextrose agar from disease samples collected from five cultivars in 14 locations. In inoculation tests, the Stemphylium isolates from cotton were highly aggressive to cotton, tomato, potato, and blue lupines; whereas an isolate of S. solani from tomato was highly aggressive on tomato and potato but less aggressive on cotton. On the basis of its morphological, cultural, and pathogenic characteristics, the principal pathogen causing leaf blight symptoms was identified as Stemphylium solani. Epidemics caused by S. solani on cotton have not been reported previously in commercial cotton cultivation.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society