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First Report of Fusarium torulosum Causing Dry Rot of Seed Potato Tubers in the United States

September 2011 , Volume 95 , Number  9
Pages  1,194.2 - 1,194.2

E. Gachango, W. Kirk, L. Hanson, A. Rojas, and P. Tumbalam, Department of Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48823

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Accepted for publication 9 June 2011.

Fusarium dry rot of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a postharvest disease caused by several Fusarium species and is of worldwide importance. Thirteen species of Fusarium have been implicated in fungal dry rots of potatoes worldwide. Among them, eight species have been reported in the northern United States (2). In Michigan potato production, F. sambucinum was the predominant species reported to be affecting seed potato in storage and causing seed piece decay after planting (3). Some previous identifications of F. sambucinum as dry rot may have been F. torulosum since F. torulosum was previously classified within F. sambucinum (4). To further investigate this, dry rot symptomatic tubers were collected from Michigan seed lots in the summers of 2009 and 2010. Small sections from the margins of necrotic regions were cut with a scalpel, surface sterilized in 0.5% sodium hypochlorite for 10 s, rinsed twice in sterile distilled water, and blotted with sterile filter paper. The tissue pieces were plated on half-strength potato dextrose agar (PDA) amended with 0.5 g/liter of streptomycin sulfate and incubated at 23°C for 5 to 7 days. Cultures resembling Fusarium species were transferred onto water agar, and single hyphal tips from actively growing isolates were removed and plated either on carnation leaf agar (CLA) or on half-strength PDA to generate pure cultures. Among the Fusarium isolates obtained, five isolates were identified as F. torulosum (GenBank Accessions Nos. JF803658–JF803660). Identification was based on colony and conidial morphology on PDA and CLA, respectively. These features included slow growth (2.8 ± 0.2 cm in 5 days), white mycelium that became pigmented with age, narrow concentric rings, red or white pigmentation on agar, macroconidia (32.4 ± 0.4 μm average length) with five septa, a pointed apical cell, and a foot-shaped basal cell (4). The identity was confirmed through DNA extraction followed by amplification and sequencing of the translation elongation factor (EF-1α) gene region (1). The Fusarium-ID.v (1) and the NCBI database were used to obtain the closest match (99%) to previously sequenced materials (GenBank Accession No. AJ543611). Pathogenicity testing was done on disease-free potato tubers cv. Red Norland. Tubers were surface sterilized for 10 min in 0.5% sodium hypochlorite and rinsed twice in distilled water. Three tubers per isolate were injected with 20 μl of a conidial suspension (106 conidia/ml) made from F. torulosum cultures grown on PDA for 7 to 10 days. Control tubers were injected with 20 μl of sterile distilled water. All tubers inoculated with F. torulosum developed typical potato dry rot symptoms consisting of a brown and dry decay. There was no disease incidence on the control tubers. F. torulosum was reisolated from the symptomatic tubers. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. torulosum causing potato dry rot in the United States.

References: (1) D. Geiser et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 110:473, 2004. (2) L. E. Hanson et al. Phytopathology 86:378, 1996. (3) M. L. Lacy and R. Hammerschmidt. Fusarium dry rot. Extension Bulletin. Retrieved from, 23 May 2010. (4) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ, 2006.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society