Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis 95616
CDFA, 1220 N St., Sacramento, CA 95814
A grapevine decline of unknown etiology is currently under investigation in California. Two- to 5-year-old vines show low vigor with undersized trunks, short internodes, uneven wood maturity, sparse foliage, and stunted, chlorotic leaves with interveinal chlorosis and necrosis. Trunks viewed in cross section show dark streaking in few to most of the vascular elements. Pith is compacted and discolored; the surrounding wood is dry with a silvery sheen. Primary roots also show dark streaking in the vascular elements and total root biomass is reduced. Phaeoacremonium spp. were consistently isolated from the roots, crowns, and lower portions of the rootstocks of declining vines but not from adjacent healthy vines. Phaeoacremonium spp. grew slowly out of infected tissues, but sporulated abundantly in culture. Identification was verified from a published key (1). Phaeoacremonium chlamydosporum and P. inflatipes were isolated throughout the northern and central California production areas, but P. aleophilum was isolated only in Riverside County. Koch's postulates were completed for Phaeoacremonium spp. by dipping roots of 2-month-old Carignane grape seedlings (n = 80) in a 108 spores per ml suspension for 30 min. Plants were potted in an artificial soil mix and held in a growth chamber at 25°C. Over 50% of plants inoculated with Phaeo-acremonium spp. developed root, stem, and vascular symptoms within 8 weeks. Each of the individual pathogen species was reisolated from over 75% of the inoculated plants but never from the controls. Similarly, all three Phaeoacremonium spp. are associated with wilt and decline diseases in grapevines in Africa (1) and Europe (2) but this is the first report in North America. While several names for this disease have been used previously with older grapevines, including Esca, apoplexy, and black measles (3), we propose using Phaeoacremonium grapevine decline to describe the diseases caused by P. aleophilum, P. chlamydosporum, and P. inflatipes on young vines.
References: (1) P. W. Crous et al. Mycologia 88:786, 1996. (2) P. Larignon and B. Dubos. Euro. J. Plant Pathol. 103:147, 1997. (3) R. Pearson and A. Goheen. 1988. Compendium of Grape Diseases. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.