During late July and early August of 2005, leaf spot symptoms were observed in a blueberry nursery at a plantation in Dalian, which to our knowledge, lies within the largest blueberry-production area in China. Symptoms were observed primarily on lowbush species, for example Blomidon, as well as half-highbush cultivars. A slow-growing, white mycelium from the margin of necrotic leaf spots was recovered on potato dextrose agar (PDA). The following morphological traits were observed: erect conidiophores that branch twice and were terminated in a stiped, clavate phialide; hyaline, cylindrical, four-celled conidia; and globose, reddish brown, aggregated chlamydospores. Conidiophores (including stipes and terminal phialides) were 305 to 420 × 5 to 9 μm; primary branches were 9 to 45 × 5 to 6.3 μm; secondary branches were 9 to 17.3 × 3.1 to 4.5 μm; phialides were 7.8 to 17.5 × 2.5 to 6 μm; stipes (from the highest branch area to vesicle) were 150 to 270 μm long; and vesicles were 13 to 30 × 2 to 4.5 μm. Conidia were 50 to 72 × 4 to 5.5 μm. Chlamydospores were 15 to 20 μm in diameter. Koch's postulates were fulfilled by spray inoculating two healthy cultivars with conidiophores homogenized in axenic water. As a control, two healthy plants were sprayed with axenic water. Plants were placed inside plastic bags to maintain humidity and incubated in a growth chamber at 26°C under fluorescent light for 14 h and 20°C in darkness for 10 h. After 2 days, the plastic bags were removed and plants were maintained under the same conditions. After 4 days, small-to-medium brown spots with purplish margins were observed on the adaxial side of leaves from inoculated plants, but not from control plants. Fungi isolated from these lesions had the same morphological traits as the ones isolated previously from field plants. The morphological descriptions and measurements were similar to Cylindorocladium colhounii (2). The 5.8S subunit and flanking internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) of rDNA and the β-tubulin gene were amplified from DNA extracted from single-spore cultures using the ITS1/ITS4 primers and T1/Bt2b primers, respectively, and sequenced (1). The ITS and β-tubulin gene sequences were similar to C. colhounii STE-U 1237 (99%; GenBank Accession No. AF231953) and C. colhounii STE-U 705 (99%; GenBank Accession No. AF231954), respectively. The morphology, secondary conidiation, and sequences of ITS and β-tubulin gene identify the causal fungus as C. colhounii. To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. colhounii on blueberry in China or in the world.
References: (1) P. W. Crous et al. Can. J. Bot. 77:1813, 1999. (2) T. Watanabe. Page 222 in: Dictorial Atlas of Soil and Seed Fungi. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fl, 1994.