A. Rossman, Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD;
J. Melgar, Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research, La Lima, Cortes, Honduras;
D. Walker, Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD; and
T. Ramirez, and
J. Rivera, Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research, La Lima, Cortes, Honduras
In the last decade, rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L., Sapindaceae) and pulasan (N. mutabile Blume) have been cultivated in Honduras to produce exotic fruits for export to North America (2). Recently, a disease was observed that produces dark brown to black fissured cankers from 1 to 3 cm long and 1 to 4 cm wide. The infected bark tissue becomes swollen with the middle region 3 to 8 mm thick. Symptoms appear when the trees are approximately 3 years old. As the trees mature, the cankers increase in size and weaken the branches, often resulting in breakage with the weight of the fruit causing substantial plant damage and fruit loss. In August 2010, fissured branch samples of rambutan and pulasan were collected from 6- to 8-year-old trees from the Humid Tropical Demonstrative Agroforestry Center in Honduras, Atlantida, La Masica (15°33′47.4″N, 87°05′2.5″W, elevation 106 m). A fungus associated with the cankers was identified as Dolabra nepheliae. It produces black, stipitate, elongate ascomata, 312 to 482 × 250 to 281 μm with broadly cylindric, bitunicate asci, 120 to 138 × 11.2 to 15.0 μm, and filiform, hyaline ascospores, 128 to 135 × 2.8 to 3.2 μm. Fungi from rambutan and pulasan were isolated on cornmeal agar plus 0.5% dextrose and antibiotics. On potato dextrose agar, the ascospores produced slow-growing colonies, 5 mm per week. In culture, isolates from both hosts produced pycnidia with elongated, slightly to strongly curved or S-shaped, hyaline conidia, 22.8 to 46.4 × 2.8 to 3.7 μm. This fungus was first reported on rambutan and pulasan from Malaysia (1,4), and later reported on rambutan and litchi in Hawaii and Puerto Rico (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of D. nepheliae on pulasan and rambutan from Honduras. Specimens have been deposited at the U.S. National Fungus Collections (BPI 882442 on N. lappaceum and BPI 882443 on N. mutabile). Cultures were deposited at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) as CBS 131490 on N. lappaceum and CBS 131491 on N. mutabile. Sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region including ITS1, 5.8S, and ITS2 intergenic spacers were deposited in GenBank (Accession No. JQ004281 on N. lappaceum and Accession No. JQ004280 on N. mutabile). A BLAST search and pairwise comparison using the GenBank web server were used to compare ITS sequence data and recovered the following results: (i) CBS 131490 on N. lappaceum is 99% (538 of 544) identical to D. nepheliae CBS 123297 on Litchi chinensis from Puerto Rico; and (ii) CBS 131491 on N. mutabile is 99% (527 of 533) identical to the same strain of D. nepheliae. On the basis of the ITS sequence data, the isolates from Honduras were confirmed as the same species, D. nepheliae from Puerto Rico. Efforts to develop resistant germplasm and management strategies to control this disease have been initiated.
References: (1) C. Booth and W. P. Ting. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 47:235, 1964. (2) T. Ramírez et al. Manual Para el Cultivo de Rambutan en Honduras. Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola. La Lima, Cortes, Honduras, 2003. (3) A. Y. Rossman et al. Plant Dis. 91:1685, 2007. (4) H. Zalasky et al. Can. J. Bot. 49:559, 1971.