An anthracnose disease was observed affecting leaves of high-bush blueberry plants (Vaccinium corymbosum L. ‘Sharpblue’) in small areas within two production fields in Huelva Province of Andalucía, in southwestern Spain. The first symptoms observed in late spring were circular, necrotic lesions, red to salmon in color, and ranging from 3 to 20 mm in diameter. Later, lesions became salmon colored in the center with a brilliant red halo. Fungal isolations were made from the lesions. Infected tissues were surface-disinfected in 1% sodium hypochlorite for 1 min, blotted dry on sterile filter paper, and plated on 2% water agar. The plates were incubated at 25°C for 5 to 10 days. Fungal colonies isolated from the tissues were transferred to potato dextrose yeast agar (PDYA). Only one fungal species was consistently isolated from affected leaf tissues and was identified as Colletotrichum acutatum J.H. Simmonds based on morphological characteristics (2) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (1). Colonies of the fungus on PDYA showed a white-to-gray dense mycelium covered with salmon-colored spore masses. The reverse of the plates was a pink-salmon color. Colony diameter on PDYA averaged 50 mm after 7 days at 25°C. Conidia were hyaline, aseptate, fusiform to cylindrical, and 12.5 × 3.2 μm. Inoculation of leaves and fruits of blueberry cv. Misty with a conidial suspension (106 conidia per ml) of C. acutatum produced lesions on the leaves and fruits similar to those observed on diseased plants in the field. The pathogen was isolated from lesions on inoculated plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. acutatum in high-bush blueberry plants in Spain.
References: (1) T. A. Cooke et al. EPPO Bull. 25:57, 1995. (2) B. C. Sutton. The Coelomycetes. CMI, Kew, England, 1980.