In September 2009, diseased garlic bulbs (Allium sativum L. cv. Yamuna Safed) were received from producers and exporters in Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, India. From 2009 to 2010, similar symptoms were observed on stored garlic bulbs (cvs. Yamuna Safed and Agrifound White) in Chittoor, Kadapa, and Hyderabad districts. In some locations, approximately 60% of the garlic bulbs were affected. At first, infected bulbs showed water-soaked, brown spots and then the disease progressed as small, slightly depressed, tan lesions. A total of 120 diseased samples were collected from all localities. Infected tissues were surface sterilized in 1% sodium hypochlorite for 2 min, rinsed three times in sterile distilled water, plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated at 25°C for 7 days. Resultant fungal colonies were fast growing with white aerial mycelium and violet to dark pigments. Hyphae were septate and hyaline. Conidiophores were short, simple, or branched. Microconidia were abundant, single celled, oval or club shaped, measuring 4.5 to 10.5 × 1.3 to 2.5 μm, and borne in chains from both mono-and polyphialides. Macroconidia were not produced. On the basis of morphological characteristics, the pathogen was identified as Fusarium proliferatum (Matsushima) Nirenberg (2). Identification was confirmed by amplification of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Genomic DNA was extracted from pure cultures of an isolate, and the ITS region was amplified using the ITS4/5 primer pair. PCR amplicons of approximately 574 bp were obtained from isolates, and sequence comparisons with GenBank showed 99% similarity with F. proliferatum (Accession No. FN868470.1). Sequence from this study was submitted to GenBank nucleotide database (Accession No. AB646795). Pathogenicity tests were conducted with three isolates of the fungus following the method of Dugan et al. (1). Each assay with an isolate consisted of 10 garlic cloves disinfected in 1% sodium hypochlorite for 45 s, rinsed with sterile distilled water, and injured to a depth of 4 mm with a sterile 1-mm-diameter probe. The wounds were filled with PDA colonized by the appropriate isolate from a 5-day-old culture. Ten cloves for each tested isolate received sterile PDA as a control. The cloves were incubated at 25°C for 5 weeks; tests were repeated once. After 17 days, rot symptoms similar to the original symptoms developed on all inoculated cloves and F. proliferatum was consistently reisolated from symptomatic tissue, fulfilling Koch's postulates. No fungi were recovered from control cloves. F. proliferatum has been reported on garlic in the northwestern United States (1), Serbia (4), and Spain (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. proliferatum causing rot disease on garlic bulbs in India.
References: (1) F. M. Dugan et al. Plant Pathol. 52:426, 2003. (2) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2006. (3) D. Palmero et al. Plant Dis. 94:277, 2010. (4) S. Stankovic et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 48:165, 2007.