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First Report of Botrytis cinerea Causing Gray Mold of Pomegranate (Punica granatum) in Greece

December 2009 , Volume 93 , Number  12
Pages  1,346.3 - 1,346.3

G. A. Bardas, G. D. Tzelepis, L. Lotos, and G. S. Karaoglanidis, Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Agriculture, Plant Pathology Laboratory, POB 269, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Accepted for publication 28 July 2009.

Pomegranate is rapidly increasing in production in Greece. During August of 2008 in the region of Larisa (central Greece), preharvest fruit rot was observed on pomegranate (cv. Kapmaditika) that caused losses estimated at 10%. Symptoms first appeared as small spots on the fruits that later increased in size and developed into expanded, dark brown lesions. Internally, tissues were soft and brown with gray mycelia and conidiophores observed. Affected fruits decayed completely during 2 months of storage (5 to 6°C), causing yield losses of up to 20%. To isolate the casual agent, conidia and conidiophores were scraped aseptically from the internal tissues, suspended in sterile water, and streaked onto the surface of potato dextrose agar (PDA). Single hyphal tips were transferred to PDA, and the isolated fungus was identified as Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. on the basis of morphological characteristics (2). B. cinerea was consistently isolated from symptomatic tissues. Colonies of B. cinerea on PDA were at first colorless and became gray to brown with the development of lemon-shaped conidia (average 7.5 × 9 μm). Sclerotia were black and varied in size (1.4 to 4.5 × 1.5 to 2.7 mm) and shape (2). Pathogenicity of the isolated fungus was tested by wound inoculating five mature pomegranate fruits (cv. Kampaditika) after surface sterilization with 5% sodium hypochlorite. Plugs of the fungus (5 mm in diameter) obtained from the colony margins were transferred onto a 3- × 3-mm wound on the surface of sterilized fruit. Sterile PDA plugs were used to inoculate five control pomegranate fruits. Fruit were incubated at 22°C and 80% relative humidity in the dark. Extensive decay, similar to that observed on diseased fruits in the field, was observed on inoculated fruits 7 days after inoculation, whereas control fruits showed no decay. The pathogen was reisolated from internal rotten tissues of inoculated fruit, but not from the noninoculated control fruits. Fruit rot of pomegranate caused by B. cinerea has been reported previously in the United States (1) and China (3). However, to our knowledge, this is the first report of B. cinerea causing gray mold of pomegranate in Greece.

References: (1) A. M. French. California Plant Disease Host Index. Calif. Dept. Food Agric., Sacramento, 1989. (2) W. B. Hewitt. Compendium of Grape Diseases. American Phytopathological Society, 1994. (3) Z. Zhang. Flora Fungorum Sinicorum 26:277, 2006.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society