H. Y. Li,
R. Zhang, and
G. Y. Sun, College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, China;
M. Tang, College of Forestry, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, China; and
M. L. Gleason, Department of Plant Pathology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011
Sooty blotch and flyspeck (SBFS), a disease complex comprised of as many as 30 putative species of fungi, occurs on the cuticle of pome fruits in moist production regions worldwide, inciting cosmetic damage that causes significant economic losses (1). Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida Bge.) is an economically important tree species in China. Its fruit are sold fresh or dried and are used as a culinary spice as well as an ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine. In October of 2007, Chinese hawthorn fruit exhibiting SBFS signs were sampled from supermarkets in Yangling, Shaanxi Province and Luoyang, Henan Province, China. Thalli directly from the hawthorn fruit were transferred onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) slants under a dissecting microscope and cultured at 22 ± 1°C in darkness. DNA was extracted from pure isolates and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) was amplified and sequenced using primers ITS-1F and ITS4 (3). Phylogenetic analysis of the ITS sequences revealed that the 35 isolates generated in this study included five species in three genera: Dissoconium sp. (18 isolates), Mycosphaerella sp. (5 isolates), and Peltaster sp. 1 (4 isolates), Peltaster sp. 2 (4 isolates), and Peltaster sp. 3 (4 isolates). To fulfill Koch's postulates and verify that these fungi could also infest apple fruit, two representative isolates of each putative species were inoculated onto mature intact hawthorn and apple (cv. Fuji) fruit that had been surface disinfested with 75% ethanol and allowed to dry. Inoculum was prepared by comminuting 1-month-old cultures growing on PDA into a suspension of mycelial fragments and conidia (105 to ~106 CFU/ml) in a blender with sterile deionized water (SDW). Each isolate was inoculated on three hawthorn and three apple fruit by using cotton swabs. As controls, two surface-disinfested hawthorn and apple fruit were swabbed with SDW. After the inoculated hawthorn and apple fruit had been incubated in a moist chamber at 22 ± 1°C for 1 month, all inoculated hawthorn and apple fruit exhibited SBFS signs similar to those of the original colonies on hawthorn fruit, but the controls did not. Reservoir hosts have been inferred to play an important role in SBFS by providing the fungi with overwintering habitat and inoculum for infestations on apple. Many reservoir hosts have been reported in the United States and Japan (2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of fungi in the SBFS complex on hawthorn fruit and the first confirmation that fungi growing on hawthorn fruit can produce SBFS signs on apple fruit. These results identify hawthorn as a potential inoculum source for SBFS in apple orchards.
References: (1) J. C. Batzer et al. Mycologia 97:1283, 2005. (2) K. Hemnani et al. Phytopathology 98(suppl):S66, 2008. (3) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. M. A. Innis et al., eds. Academic Press, San Diego, 1990.