Fusarium graminearum, a pathogen of wheat and corn, was reported recently as a saprophytic fungus colonizing soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) fruits and seeds at R7 in Argentina (2). To evaluate the capacity of F. graminearum obtained from stem and seeds of symptomatic soybean plants that cause disease on soybean seedlings, isolates were obtained during the 2001 to 2002 growing season from: (i) the basal one-third of stems from field-grown soybean plants, collected at R5, with light brown external and internal discoloration and leaves with interveinal chlorosis; and (ii) soybean seeds with pink tegument. The pathogen was isolated on potato glucose agar acidified with 0.2% lactic acid (PGAA). Isolates were identified as F. graminearum on the basis of growth rate and pigmentation of colonies on PGAA, lack of microconidia (1), and morphology and size of typical macroconidia in sporodochia developed on Spezieller Nährstoffarmer Agar (3). Isolates of F. graminearum, CE135 and CE136 (from wheat) and CE137 (from corn) deposited in the Centro de Referencia en Micología (CEREMIC), Fac. Farmacia y Bioquímica, UNR, Argentina, were used as references in identifying the soybean isolates. Plants (14-day-old) were inoculated separately with stem and seed isolates in the greenhouse at 26 ± 2 and 20 ± 2°C day/night temperature by inserting a piece of mycelium into a wound made with a scalpel in the hypocotyl. A completely randomized block design (RCB) was utilized with four replicate pots with four plants per pot. Plants wounded but without mycelium served as controls. This test was conducted twice (experiments 1 and 2). Another test was completed by burying a thin layer of wheat caryopsis colonized by fungal mycelium of the stem isolate CE170 in the soil of pots. Plants in pots with soil without inoculum served as controls (4). The experiment was conducted twice (experiments 3 and 4) in an RCB with five replications, four plants per replication. The progress of symptoms in experiments 1 and 2 were stem with light brown discoloration around the inoculation point that extended progressively along the stem, interveinal chlorosis or loss of turgence of unifoliate leaves, and interveinal chlorosis of trifoliate leaves followed by plant wilting and death. Twenty-one days after inoculation, average percentages of dead plants (%DP) was 42 and 21% for stem and seed isolates, respectively. For experiments 3 and 4, %DP was 56%, 45 days after emergence. These plants had roots with light brown, necrotic areas. Control plants remained healthy. The pathogen was reisolated from the stem (100%) and root (57%) tissues of symptomatic plants but not from similar tissues of control plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a pathogenic relationship between F. graminearum and soybean.
References: (1) P. E. Nelson et al. Fusarium species: An Illustrated Manual for Identification. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, 1983. (2) R.N. Pioli et al. Fitopatología 35(2):111, 2000. (3) B. A. Summerell et al. Plant Dis. 87:117, 2003. (4) C. E. Windels. Fusarium. Pages 115--128 in: Methods for Research on Soilborne Phytopathogenic Fungi. L. L. Singleton, J. D. Mihail, and C. M. Rush, eds. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 1992.