T. S. Schubert, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville 32614;
M. M. Dewdney, University of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred 33850;
N. A. Peres, University of Florida, IFAS, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Wimauma 33598;
M. E. Palm, USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Beltsville, MD 20705;
A. Jeyaprakash and
B. Sutton, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville 32614;
S. N. Mondal and
N.-Y. Wang, University of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred 33850;
J. Rascoe, USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Beltsville, MD 20705; and
D. D. Picton, USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Beltsville, MD 20705
In March 2010, citrus black spot symptoms were observed on sweet orange trees in a grove near Immokalee, FL. Symptoms observed on fruit included hard spot, cracked spot, and early virulent spot. Hard spot lesions were up to 5 mm, depressed with a chocolate margin and a necrotic, tan center, often with black pycnidia (140 to 200 μm) present. Cracked spot lesions were large (15 mm), dark brown, with diffuse margins and raised cracks. In some cases, hard spots formed in the center of lesions. Early virulent spot lesions were small (up to 7 mm long), bright red, irregular, indented, and often with many pycnidia. In addition, small (2 to 3 mm), elliptical, reddish brown leaf lesions with depressed tan centers were observed on some trees with symptomatic fruit. Chlorotic halos appeared as they aged. Most leaves had single lesions, occasionally up to four per leaf. Tissue pieces from hard spots and early virulent spots were placed aseptically on potato dextrose agar (PDA), oatmeal agar, or carrot agar and incubated with 12 h of light and dark at 24°C. Cultures that grew colonies within a week were discarded. Fourteen single-spore cultures were obtained from the isolates that grew slower than the Guignardia mangiferae reference cultures, although pycnidia formed more rapidly in the G. mangiferae cultures (1). No sexual structures were observed. Cultures on half-PDA were black and cordlike with irregular margins with numerous pycnidia, often bearing white cirrhi after 14 days. Conidia (7.1 to 7.8 × 10.3 to 11.8 μm) were hyaline, aseptate, multiguttulate, ovoid with a flattened base surrounded by a hyaline matrix (0.4 to 0.6 μm) and a hyaline appendage on the rounded apex, corresponding to published descriptions of G. citricarpa (anomorph Phyllosticta citricarpa) (1). A yellow pigment was seen in oatmeal agar surrounding G. citricarpa, but not G. mangiferae colonies as previously reported (1,2). DNA was extracted from lesions and cultures and amplified with species-specific primers (2). DNA was also extracted from G. mangiferae and healthy citrus fruit. The G. citricarpa-specific primers produced a 300-bp band from fruit lesions and pure cultures. G. mangiferae-specific primers produced 290-bp bands with DNA from G. mangiferae cultures. The internally transcribed spacer (ITS) of the rRNA gene, translation-elongation factor (TEF), and actin gene regions were sequenced from G. citricarpa isolates and deposited in GenBank. These sequences had 100% homology with G. citricarpa ITS sequences from South Africa and Brazil, 100% homology with TEF, and 99% homology with actin of a Brazilian isolate. Pathogenicity tests with G. citricarpa were not done because the organism infects immature fruit and has an incubation period of at least 6 months (3). In addition, quarantine restrictions limit work with the organism outside a contained facility. To our knowledge, this is the first report of black spot in North America. The initial infested area was ~57 km2. The disease is of great importance to the Florida citrus industry because it causes serious blemishes and significant yield reduction, especially on the most commonly grown ‘Valencia’ sweet orange. Also, the presence of the disease in Florida may affect market access because G. citricarpa is considered a quarantine pathogen by the United States and internationally.
References: (1) R. P. Baayen et al. Phytopathology 92:464, 2002. (2) N. A. Peres et al. Plant Dis. 91:525, 2007 (3) R. F. Reis et al. Fitopath Bras. 31:29, 2006.