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First Report of Nectria haematococca Causing Stem Rot of Soybean in China

March 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  3
Pages  457.1 - 457.1

Y. Gai, R. Pan, and D. Xu, Department of Plant Pathology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China; M. Deng, W. Chen, and W. Liu, Plant Protection Research Institute, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China

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Accepted for publication 13 November 2011.

In October 2010, soybean (Glycine max) plants growing in commercial soybean fields in Zengcheng City, Guangdong Province developed symptoms consisting of stem and root rot, yellowing, and defoliation of leaves. Reddish, spherical fruiting bodies appeared in lesions that developed on stems. Plants with symptoms were sampled from fields. Fruiting bodies were excised from diseased tissues. Microscopic examination revealed that they were perithecia, globose to pyriform, and measured 197 to 260 μm in diameter and 226 to 358 μm long. When squeezed gently, cylindrical to clavate asci, 7.2 to 9.6 μm in diameter and 75.4 to 92.0 μm long, containing eight ascospores were exuded from the perithecia. Ascospores were ellipsoid to obovate, two celled, slightly constricted at the septum, had longitudinal striations, and measured 4.9 to 6.0 μm in diameter and 10.6 to 15.0 μm long. The fungus was isolated from the basal stem tissues of diseased soybean plants and cultured on potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium amended with streptomycin sulfate. On PDA, the culture developed into blue-pigmented colonies with whitish mycelium that produced oval to cylindrical microconidia. Microconidia had 0 to 1 septum, ranged from 2.5 to 5.2 × 7.6 to 29.4 μm, and were produced on monophialides. Macroconidia were cylindrical to falcate, thick walled, 2 to 5 septa, and 3.5 to 6.0 × 25.4 to 66.8 μm. Chlamydospores were present and ranged from 6.8 to 13.6 × 5.5 to 9.5 μm. Orange-to-reddish perithecia were readily formed in old culture. These morphological characteristics were consistent with descriptions of Nectria haematococca (anamorph Fusarium solani) (1). The rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and the fragment of translation elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1-α) genes of the fungus were amplified, respectively, with universal primers ITS1/ITS4 and ef1/ef2 primers and sequenced. BLAST searches showed that the ITS sequences of three isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. JN015069, JN190942, and JN190943) had 99% similarity with those of N. haematococca(GenBank Accession Nos. DQ535186, DQ535185, and DQ535183) and the EF1-α sequences of three isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. JN874641, JN874642, and JN874643) had 100% similarity with those of F. solani (GenBank Accession Nos. DQ247265 and DQ247327). Completion of Koch's postulates confirmed the pathogenicity of the isolates in a replicated experiment. Thirty-day-old soybean seedlings of cultivar Huaxia No. 3 were inoculated by soaking their root systems in a conidial suspension (106 conidia per ml) for 30 min and then transplanted in plastic pots (20 cm in diameter) and incubated at 25 ± 2°C in a greenhouse. Control plants were treated with sterile water in the same way. There were four plants per pot and there were six replicates for each treatment. Within 3 weeks, more than 70% of the inoculated plants exhibited symptoms of leaf yellowing, stem rot, and root rots while control plants were symptomless. N. haematococca was reisolated from the diseased plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of N. haematococca causing stem rot of soybean in China and the first description of sexual reproduction of F. solani causing soybean stem rot in nature. This pathogen may pose a serious threat to soybean production in China where soybean is a main crop.

Reference: (1) C. Booth. The Genus Fusarium. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, 1971.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society