MTT Agrifood Research-Finland, Plant Production Research, FIN-31600 Jokioinen, Finland
Plant Production Inspection Centre, Plant Quarantine Laboratory, P. O. Box 42, FIN-00501 Helsinki, Finland
Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) is the most important small fruit crop in Finland. The quarantined pest Colletotrichum acutatum was detected for the first time on strawberry in August 2000, in Eastern Finland. Waiting-bed plants of cultivar Elsanta had symptoms typical of anthracnose rot (black spot) on the fruit, and small black lesions were seen on stolons. The rainy, warm, and humid weather of the summer favored the development and spread of the disease. C. acutatum was isolated from lesions on the fruit. Abundant sporulation was observed on lesions, and the fungus was readily isolated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) from surface-sterilized fruit pieces. Spores (11.5 to 19.8 × 3.3 to 4.0 μm) were acute at both ends, and acervuli with salmon pink spore masses matched the descriptions of C. acutatum (1). At first, the colonies were white and later became ash gray. The growth rate of the fungus was 8.0 to 8.8 mm per day, at 27°C. The identification was confirmed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at the Central Science Laboratory, York, U.K. In order to fulfill Koch's postulates, young potted strawberry plants were inoculated by misting with a suspension of 10.4 × 106 conidia per ml of C. acutatum. Healthy runner plants of micropropagated cultivars Bounty, Cudaruska, Jonsok, Korona, and Oka (10 plants of each cultivar) were inoculated and incubated for 3 days, at 100% relative humidity. After 3 weeks at 20 to 21°C and 16 h of light per day, dark, elongated lesions measuring 2 to 15 mm were observed on the stolons. All tested cultivars developed symptoms on stolons and petioles, but no crown infections were detected. Flowering and fruit-bearing plants of cultivars Honeoye, Sara, and Senga Sengana were similarly inoculated and incubated. The first symptoms of fruit rot were detected 5 days after inoculation on the ripening fruit of Honeoye. Less severe fruit rot was seen on the fruit of Senga Sengana and the Fragaria vescana cultivar Sara. Salmon pink sporodochia developed on infected fruit, stolons, and leaves, within 5 days on moist filter paper, and C. acutatum was isolated on PDA. No other pathogens were present. Because C. acutatum is a quarantined pest in Finland, all strawberry plants of the infected lot on this particular farm were destroyed and future use of the field will be restricted.
Reference: (1) C. M. Howard et al. 1992. Plant Dis. 76:976--981.