Winter jujube, Zizyphus jujuba Mill., is a Chinese crop with fruit that has an extremely high nutritional value (4). In early November 2010, a severe fruit rot affecting ~20% of 1,000 kg of winter jujube fruit was observed in a storehouse in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China. The same fruit rot symptoms were found in two supermarkets in Zhengzhou in late November 2010 in ~10% of 100 kg of fruit in one supermarket and 25% of 50 kg of fruit in the other. Symptoms first appeared as small, round, pale yellow brown lesions on the fruits, 1 to 3 mm in diameter, then developed into 5- to 10-mm, sunken, brown spots, each with a pale brown margin. Three Fusarium isolates (DZF001 to DZF003) showing similar morphological characteristics were isolated from three specimens (collected from one storehouse and two supermarkets) by surface sterilizing small pieces of necrotic fruit tissue for 1 min in 2% NaOCl, washing the tissue pieces three times with sterile distilled water, and plating the pieces on potato dextrose agar (PDA). Fungal colonies for each isolate were white to light pink, and the adaxial side of each culture was pale yellow. Macroconidia were produced in pale orange sporodochia and were slender, relatively straight, three to five septa, 29.0 to 55.2 × 2.5 to 4.0 μm, with a curved apical cell and a poorly developed basal cell. Microconidia were produced in chains or false heads on synthetic nutrient-poor agar, clavate with a planar base, aseptate, and 4.5 to 8.0 × 2.5 to 3.5 μm. Conidiophores terminated in verticils of two to three phialides or monophialides. Chlamydospores were absent. The cultural and morphological characteristics were similar to those of Fusarium proliferatum (1,2). The identity of the three fungal isolates was confirmed to be F. proliferatum by DNA sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA region (GenBank Accession Nos. JN889713 to JN889715), which were 99 to 100% homologous to those of other F. proliferatum isolates (GU066714, HQ113948, and GU363955); and the elongation factor 1-alpha (EF-1a) gene (JN889713 to JN889715), which was 99% homologous to those of other F. proliferatum isolates (FJ538244, FJ895277, and GQ848536) (3). Pathogenicity tests were conducted on 20 winter jujube fruits using a mycelial plug harvested from the periphery of a 7-day-old colony of strain DZF001, and placed on the surface of the fruit after the inoculated area of the fruit had been surface sterilized with 75% ethanol for 2 min; an equal number of fresh winter jujube fruits treated with non-colonized plugs of PDA served as the control treatment. Each jujube fruit was pricked three times with an insect needle to create three holes close together before inoculation with an agar plug. Each fruit was then enclosed in a clear plastic box with a cup of sterile distilled water to maintain high relative humidity, and held at 25°C. Symptoms similar to those originally observed on the naturally infected fruit were observed 3 days after inoculation, and the same fungus was reisolated from each of the symptomatic fruits; control fruits remained asymptomatic and no fungus was isolated from the control fruit. Koch's postulates were repeated three times with the same results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. proliferatum causing rot of winter jujube fruit in China.
References: (1) K. Chehri et al. Saudi J. Biol. Sci. 18:341, 2011. (2) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual, Blackwell Publishing, 2006. (3) H. T. Phan. Studies Mycol. 50:261, 2004. (4) J. Sheng et al. Acta Hort. 620:203, 2003.