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First Report of Stem Canker of Salsola tragus Caused by Diaporthe eres in Russia

January 2009 , Volume 93 , Number  1
Pages  110.2 - 110.2

T. Kolomiets, All Russian Research Institute of Phytopathology, 143050, Moscow Region, Bolshie Vyazemi, Russia; Z. Mukhina, All Russia Rice Research Institute, 350921, Krasnodar, Belozerny, Russia; T. Matveeva and D. Bogomaz, St. Petersburg State University, 199034, St. Petersburg, Russia; D. K. Berner and C. A. Cavin, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, USDA, ARS, Fort Detrick, MD; and L. A. Castlebury, Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, USDA, ARS, BARC-WEST Beltsville, MD

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Accepted for publication 28 October 2008.

Salsola tragus L. (Russian thistle) is a problematic invasive weed in the western United States and a target of biological control efforts. In September of 2007, dying S. tragus plants were found along the Azov Sea at Chushka, Russia. Dying plants had irregular, necrotic, canker-like lesions near the base of the stems and most stems showed girdling and cracking. Stem lesions were dark brown and contained brown pycnidia within and extending along lesion-free sections of the stems and basal portions of leaves. Diseased stems were cut into 3- to 5-mm pieces and disinfested in 70% ethyl alcohol. After drying, stem pieces were placed into petri dishes on the surface of potato glucose agar. Numerous, dark, immersed erumpent pycnidia with a single ostiole were observed in all lesions after 2 to 3 days. Axenic cultures were sent to the Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, USDA, ARS, Ft. Detrick, MD for testing in quarantine. Conidiophores were simple, cylindrical, and 5 to 25 × 2 μm (mean 12 × 2 μm). Alpha conidia were biguttulate, one-celled, hyaline, nonseptate, ovoid, and 6.3 to 11.5 × 1.3 to 2.9 μm (mean 8.8 × 2.0 μm). Beta conidia were one-celled, filiform, hamate, hyaline, and 11.1 to 24.9 × 0.3 to 2.5 μm (mean 17.7 × 1.2 μm). The isolate was morphologically identified as a species of Phomopsis, the conidial state of Diaporthe (1). The teleomorph was not observed. A comparison with available sequences in GenBank using BLAST found 528 of 529 identities with the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence of an authentic and vouchered Diaporthe eres Nitschke (GenBank DQ491514; BPI 748435; CBS 109767). Morphology is consistent with that of Phomopsis oblonga (Desm.) Traverso, the anamorph of D. eres (2). Healthy stems and leaves of 10 30-day-old plants of S. tragus were spray inoculated with an aqueous suspension of conidia (1.0 × 106 alpha conidia/ml plus 0.1% v/v polysorbate 20) harvested from 14-day-old cultures grown on 20% V8 juice agar. Another 10 control plants were sprayed with water and surfactant without conidia. Plants were placed in an environmental chamber at 100% humidity (rh) for 16 h with no lighting at 25°C. After approximately 24 h, plants were transferred to a greenhouse at 20 to 25°C, 30 to 50% rh, and natural light. Stem lesions developed on three inoculated plants after 14 days and another three plants after 21 days. After 70 days, all inoculated plants were diseased, four were dead, and three had more than 75% diseased tissue. No symptoms occurred on control plants. The Phomopsis state was recovered from all diseased plants. This isolate of D. eres is a potential biological control agent of S. tragus in the United States. A voucher specimen has been deposited with the U.S. National Fungus Collections (BPI 878717). Nucleotide sequences for the ribosomal ITS regions (ITS 1 and 2) were deposited in GenBank (Accession No. EU805539). To our knowledge, this is the first report of stem canker on S. tragus caused by D. eres.

References: (1) B. C. Sutton. Page 569 in: The Coelomycetes. CMI, Kew, Surrey, UK, 1980. (2) L. E. Wehmeyer. The Genus Diaporthe Nitschke and its Segregates. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1933.

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