Centro Investigación Agrícola Torre de la Reina, Aventis CropSciences, Sevilla, Spain
Departamento Ciencias Agroforestales, Universidad de Sevilla, Evita Ctra. Utrera Km. 1 s/n, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
Departamento de Producción Vegetal, Universidad de Almería, Ctra. de San Urbano s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain
During December 1999, root and stem rot was observed on greenhouse-grown cucumber (cvs. Albatros, Brunex, Acapulco, and Cerrucho) plants in Almería, Spain, using rock wool cultures. The disease caused severe damage, estimated at a loss of up to 75% of the plants, in the first greenhouse affected; afterward, the disease was found in eight additional greenhouses (14 ha) in 1999 and 2000. Stem lesions extended up to 10 to 12 cm above the crown in mature plants, although no fruit damage was observed. In the advanced stages, abundant development of orange sporodochia was evident on crown and stem lesions, without vascular discoloration. Root, crown, and stem pieces that were placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) after surface-disinfection with 5% sodium hypochlorite, rinsed, and dried resulted in pure fungal colonies. Based on morphological characteristics of conidia, phialides, and chlamydospores from the isolations, the fungus was identified as Fusarium oxysporum Schlechtend.:Fr. Pathogenicity tests were conducted on cucumber (cvs. Marketmore 76 and Cerrucho [F1 hybrid]), melon (cvs. Amarillo oro, Perlita, Piboule, Tania, and Nipper [F1]), watermelon (cvs. Sugar Baby, Sweet Marvel, Jubilee, and Pata Negra and hybrid Crimson sweet), Cucurbita maxima × Cucurbita moschata, zucchini (cv. Senator), and loofah (Luffa aegyptiaca) at several stages: (i) pregermination; (ii) 1 or 2 true leaves; and (iii) more than 10 true leaves. Five fungal isolates were grown on PDA or shaken potato dextrose broth at 25°C for 8 days. Inoculation was performed in pots (10 seeds or plants of each cultivar or hybrid and isolate) by drenching with 100 ml of a fungal suspension (104 to 106 CFU/ml). Sterile water was applied to noninoculated control plants. Tests were repeated in growth chambers at 25°C (night) and 28°C (day) with a 16-h photoperiod. Fifteen to fifty days after inoculation, cucumber and melon plants at all three stages developed symptoms of root and crown rot in 100% of inoculated plants, with no observed vascular discoloration. Fifty days after inoculation, all three stages of C. maxima × C. moschata and zucchini remained symptomless. Loofah and watermelon germinated poorly or not at all when inoculated at the pregermination stage. Fifteen to fifty days after inoculation, 100% of inoculated cucumber and melon plants developed symptoms. Watermelon plants inoculated at the 10 or more true-leaf stage did not develop disease symptoms. No symptoms developed on noninoculated control plants. F. oxysporum was reisolated from infected roots, crowns, and stems of inoculated plants, confirming Koch's postulates. The main symptoms on cucumber infected by F. oxysporum f. sp. cucumerinum are wilt, yellowing, and vascular discoloration. In contrast, based on inoculation of the host differentials and the resulting disease symptoms found in this study, the fungus was identified as F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-cucumerinum (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-cucumerinum causing root and crown rot in cucumber in Spain.
Reference: (1) D. J. Vakalounakis. Plant Dis. 80:313, 1996.