Divisions of Post Harvest Management and Crop Protection, Lucknow-227107, India
Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow-227107, India
Divisions of Post Harvest Management and Crop Protection Lucknow-227107, India
Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) is a medicinal plant with high nutraceutical value. During November and December 2003, soft rot was noticed on harvested and stored (20 ± 5°C and 65 ± 5% relative humidity) fruits at the experimental farm in Rehmanhera, Lucknow, India (26°50′N, 80°54′E). These fruits had numerous, minute brown necrotic lesions showing white mycelial growth. A pronounced halo of water-soaked, faded tissue surrounded the lesion between the fringe of mycelium and healthy tissues. The rotted surface was covered with a black, powdery layer of spores. On Czapek yeast extract agar, fungal colonies were blackish grey, moderately dense, and covered the entire petri dish. The fungus produced aseptate mycelium. The sporangial heads were 30 to 50 μm in diameter with sporangiospores found linearly within cylindrical sacs (merosporangia) borne on spicules around the columella. Sporangiospores, spherical to cylindrical in shape and borne in chains, measured 3.0 to 5.0 μm long. The fungus was morphologically and physiologically identified as Syncephalastrum racemosum Schr. (2). For pathogenicity tests, healthy fruits (10 replicates) were surface sterilized and punctured inoculated aseptically with 1.0 × 106 conidia and incubated at 20 ± 5°C Typical symptoms of the disease appeared after 4 days. The fungus exhibited a strong level of cellulolytic activity as indicated by prolific growth on Indian gooseberry fiber waste under solid-state fermentation conditions. The level of cellulase activity (1) was 21 filter paper activity unit per ml at 72 hr in culture supernatant of basal medium having carboxymethyl cellulose as the carbon source. The fungus showed resistance to tannins (as much as 2%), since it could grow well in liquid growth medium (Czapek Dox broth) with 2% tannins and aonla juice with 1.8% tannins. Since Indian gooseberry is rich in fiber (2.5 to 3.4%) and tannins (1.5 to 2.0%), this may be an important pathogen. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the occurrence of Syncephalastrum racemosum on Indian gooseberry fruits.
References: (1) T. K. Ghose. Pure Appl. Chem. 59(2):257, 1987. (2) J. I. Pitt and A. D. Hocking. Fungi and Food Spoilage. Academic Press. North Ryde, Australia, 1985.