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First Report of Monosporascus cannonballus on Melon in Mexico

July 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  7
Pages  1,068.2 - 1,068.2

Y. I. Chew-Madinaveitia and A. Gaytán-Mascorro, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias-Campo Experimental La Laguna, Boulevard José Santos Valdez No. 1200 Pte. Matamoros, Coahuila, México, CP. 27440; and T. Herrera-Pérez, Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro-Unidad Laguna, Periférico y Carretera a Santa Fe, Torreón, Coahuila, México

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Accepted for publication 25 April 2012.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, melon plants (Cucumis melo L.) exhibited vine decline in commercial fields in the Municipality of Viesca, State of Coahuila, in the north-central region of Mexico known as La Comarca Lagunera. Symptoms included wilting, leaf yellowing, and vine collapse prior to harvest. Diseased plants showed necrotic root lesions and loss of secondary and tertiary roots. Numerous perithecia containing asci and ascospores typical of Monosporascus cannonballus Pollack & Uecker (3) were found in the root system. M. cannonballus is a typical fungus of hot semiarid climates such as La Comarca Lagunera in which daytime temperatures above 40°C are frequent during the melon growing season. Small root pieces were disinfected with 1.5% sodium hypochlorite for 1 min and plated onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium with 0.5 g l–1 streptomycin sulfate and incubated for 7 days at 25°C under dark conditions. The mycelium of the fungus colony was initially white, turning gray about 3 weeks later and yielding black perithecia with one ascospore per asci. The internal transcribed spacer region of ribosomal DNA of isolate 4 was sequenced and submitted to GenBank with Accession No. JQ519357. Pathogenicity of this isolate was confirmed on melon plants (cv. Cruiser) in the greenhouse at 25 to 32°C. Fungus inoculum was produced in a sand-oat hull medium (0.5 l of sand, 45 g of oat hulls, and 100 ml of distilled water), and incubated at 25°C for 50 days (1). Melon seeds were sown in sterile sand in 20-cm diameter and 12-cm depth polyurethane containers, and the inoculum was added to produce a concentration of 20 CFU g–1. Sowing was done in five inoculated containers and thinned to two plants per container, each container representing a replication. Plants were also grown in five noninoculated containers that were used as controls. After 50 days under greenhouse conditions, plants were evaluated for disease symptoms. Melon plants inoculated with M. cannonballus exhibited root necrosis as opposed to healthy roots observed in noninoculated plants. M. cannonballus was reisolated from symptomatic plants, confirming Koch's postulates. M. cannonballus causes root rot and vine decline on melon and has been reported in Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Libya, the Netherlands (plants from Russia), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, and the United States. M. cannonballus was reported in 1996 in southeastern Mexico in the State of Colima, where watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum.& Nakai) showed wilting and plant collapse prior to harvest (2). However, to our knowledge, this is the first report of M. cannonballus on melon in Mexico. This is relevant because La Comarca Lagunera region is one of the major melon producing areas in Mexico and M. cannonballus is a pathogen that may cause yield losses of up to 100%.

References: (1) B. D. Bruton et al. Plant Dis. 84:907, 2000. (2) R. D. Martyn et al. Plant Dis. 80:1430, 1996. (3) F. G. Pollack and F. A. Uecker. Mycologia 66:346, 1974.

ERRATUM: A correction was made to this Disease Note on July 20, 2012. The GenBank Accession No. was changed to JQ519357.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society