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First Report of Root Rot of Chicory Caused by Phytophthora cryptogea in Chile

April 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  4
Pages  591.2 - 591.2

M. Vargas, C. Loyola, and N. Zapata, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Concepción, Chillán, Chile; V. Rivera and G. Secor, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58108; M. Bolton, USDA-ARS, Northern Crop Science Lab, Fargo, ND; and A. France, Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Chillán, Chile

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Accepted for publication 22 December 2011.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus L. var sativum Bisch.), a relatively new high-value crop in Chile, was introduced for commercial production of inulin. Inulins are polysaccharides extracted from chicory tap roots that are used in processed foods because of their beneficial gastrointestinal properties. Approximately 3,000 ha of chicory are grown for local processing in the BioBio Region near Chillan in south central Chile. Recently, a severe rot of 1 to 3% of mature roots in the field and after harvest has been observed in most fields, which caused yield and quality losses. Typical symptoms include a brown discoloration and a soft, watery decay of the root. Tissue pieces from symptomatic roots were placed on water agar and clarified V8 juice agar medium amended with antibiotics (1) for isolation of the causal pathogen. A Phytopthora sp. had been consistently isolated from root lesions, and axenic cultures were obtained using single-hypha transfers. The species was provisionally identified as Phytopthora cryptogea (Pethybridge and Lafferty, 1919) on the basis of morphological and cultural characteristics (1). Mycelia grew between 5 and 30°C with optimal growth at 20 to 25°C and no growth at 35°C. All isolates produced hyphal swellings and nonpapillate, persistent, internally proliferating, and ovoid to obpyriform sporangia with mean dimensions of 45 × 31 μm in sterile soil extract. The isolates were of A1 mating type because they produced oospores only when paired with reference isolates of P. cinnamomi A2 on clarified V8 juice agar amended with thiamine, tryptophan, and β-sitosterol (1) after 20 days at 20°C in the dark. On the basis of morphological and sequence data from cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and 2, internal transcribed spacer 2, and β-tubulin (GenBank Accession Nos. JQ037796 to JQ037798, respectively), the pathogen was identified as P. cryptogea. Pathogenicity tests were conducted using three isolates of P. cryptogea by placing a 7-mm-diameter disk from a 1-week-old V8 agar culture on 10 wounded and nonwounded healthy chicory roots (2). Control roots were mock inoculated with agar plugs. The inoculated roots were incubated at 20°C in a moist chamber. Root rot symptoms, identical to those observed both in field and storage, developed after 4 to 6 days only on wounded sites inoculated with the pathogen, and P. cryptogea was reisolated from these inoculated plants. Mock-inoculated roots remained healthy. This experiment was completed twice and similar results were obtained. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Phytophthora root rot of chicory caused by P. cryptogea in Chile.

References: (1) D. C. Erwin and O. K. Ribeiro. Phytophthora Diseases Worldwide. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 1996. (2) M. E. Stanghellini and W. C. Kronland. Plant Dis. 66:262, 1982.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society