In a survey for Fusarium root rot, soybean plants were sampled from eight counties across Iowa in 2008 to 2009. Fusarium isolates were recovered from surface-sterilized symptomatic and asymptomatic root tissue by culturing on peptone PCNB agar (2). Single-spore isolates were transferred to carnation leaf agar (CLA) and potato dextrose agar (PDA) for morphological identification; 11 isolates were identified as F. armeniacum (Forbes, Windels, and Burgess) Burgess and Summerell (previously F. acuminatum ssp. armeniacum) (2). Colonies on PDA produced white aerial mycelium, red to apricot pigment in agar, and bright orange sporodochia in the center of the culture. Some isolates produced a pionnotal form of slow-growing colonies with little aerial mycelium and abundant orange sporodochia. On CLA, macroconidia in orange sporodochia on carnation leaves and chlamydospores formed abundantly, but microconidia were absent (2). Species identity for the 11 isolates was confirmed by sequencing of the elongation factor gene (EF1-α) using ef1 and ef2 primers (4) (reference sequences deposited in GenBank JX101763 and JX101764). Pathogenicity of seven F. armeniacum isolates was tested using surface-sterilized soybean seed, cv. AG2403, in a petri dish assay with 3-day-old cultures on 2% water agar (1). Germination, seed rot, and lesion development were scored 7 dai using an ordinal scale (1). The experiment was a completely randomized design (CRD), had three replicate plates per isolate, and was conducted twice. All seven isolates were pathogenic on soybean, though variation in aggressiveness was observed among isolates (P < 0.0001) related to colony morphology on PDA. Seed germination was 0 to 40% when inoculated with four isolates showing white fluffy aerial mycelium on PDA. Seedlings were severely stunted with dark brown lesions covering a majority of the root system. When inoculated with three isolates showing the pionnotal form of slow-growing mycelium, germination was 70 to 100%, with few small brown lesions (~5 to 10 mm) on the roots. Noninoculated controls showed 100% germination and no symptoms. Pathogenicity was also tested in a growth chamber assay at 18°C using autoclaved soil mixed with an infested sand-cornmeal inoculum (3). Data for dry root and shoot weights and root rot severity (visually scored on a % scale) were collected at 6 weeks. The CRD experiment had five replications (single plant in a cone containing 150 ml infested soil), and was conducted twice. Root symptoms and similar variation in aggressiveness among isolates (based on colony morphology) was observed in inoculated plants. Isolates differed significantly for effects on root weight (P = 0.0125), shoot weight (P = 0.0035), and root rot severity (P = 0.0158). F. armeniacum was reisolated from infected root tissue, but not from noninoculated controls. Recovered isolates maintained their original colony morphology. F. armeniacum was previously reported in Minnesota on symptomless corn (2), but it has not been reported on soybean and its pathogenicity has not been established on any crop. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. armeniacum as a pathogen on soybean in the United States.
References: (1) K. E. Broders et al. Plant Dis. 91:727, 2007. (2) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2006. (3) G. P. Munkvold and J. K. O'Mara. Plant Dis. 86:143, 2002. (4) K. O'Donnell et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 95:2044, 1998.