A soybean stem canker (SSC) outbreak caused by Diaporthe phaseolorum (Cooke & Ellis) Sacc. var. meridionalis Fernández was reported in Santa Fe, Argentina, in 1997 (3). In 1999 an isolate, which was morphologically distinct from D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis, was obtained from stems of field-grown soybean plants exhibiting SSC symptoms, at Oliveros, Santa Fe, Argentina (Lat. 32° 33′S, Lon. 60° 51′W). Disease incidence was 76% in the field where samples were collected. The pathogen was isolated in darkness at 25°C on potatoglucose agar acidified with 0.2% lactic acid (3). The isolate produced white colonies with compact and tufted mycelium that changed to yellow and light tan with age. Stromata and pycnidia were not produced. After 35 days in culture, clustered perithecia were frequently observed on stem segments. Fifty asci, five from each of 10 perithecia, and bicellular, biguttulated ascospores were measured. Ascus mean length was 26.9 ± 2.5 μm and width was 5.3 ± 0.5 μm; ascospore mean length was 8.3 ± 0.6 μm and width was 2.6 ± 0.1μm. Based on these features, the new isolate was classified as D. phaseolorum var. caulivora Athou & Caldwell (1). To further compare the new isolate with previous identified ones, a principal component analysis (PCA, SAS Systems) was performed using seven isolates of D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis, three isolates of D. phaseolorum var. sojae, and two isolates of Phomopsis longicolla. Seventeen morphological characters, all related with the color and texture of the colonies, the presence and shape of the pycnidia and conidia, the presence and type of stromata and perithecia, and the length of the asci, were compared. According to the PCA analysis, the principal characters that discriminated SSC producing isolates (D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis and D. phaseolorum var. caulivora) from non-SSC producing ones (D. phaseolorum var. sojae and P. longicolla) were the development of perithecia (r = 0.98) and low frequency stromata (r = 0.98) in D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis and D. phaseolorum var. caulivora isolates. The principal components that discriminated SSC producing isolates were the more compact and tufted aspect of the mycelia (r = 0.95) and the shorter length of the asci (r = 0.83) in D. phaseolorum var. caulivora compared with D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis. Pathogenicity trials were performed under greenhouse conditions by inoculating D. phaseolorum var. caulivora mycelia in hypocotyls of soybean seedlings by the toothpick method (2). Typical SSC symptoms were observed on susceptible plants and the pathogen was re-isolated and identified from stem portions of the first internode above the inoculation point. Pathogenicity trials were repeated twice with similar results. This is the first report of D. phaseolorum var. caulivora in Argentina and, as far as we know, in all of South America.
References: (1) F. A. Fernández et al. 1999. Stem canker. Pages 32--35 in: Compendium of Soybean Diseases, 4th ed. APS Press, St. Paul, MN. (2) B. L. Keeling. Phytopathology 72:807--809, 1982. (3) R. N. Pioli et al. Plant Dis. 81:1215, 1997.