Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. is the causal agent of gray mold disease and one of the most important plant-pathogenic fungi affecting strawberry (Fragaria× ananassa). Control of gray mold mainly depends on fungicides, including the methyl benzimidazole carbamate (MBC) thiophanate-methyl. In 2011, strawberries with gray mold symptoms were collected from commercial fields near Chesnee, Florence, Lexington, McBee, Monetta, and North Augusta, all in South Carolina. MBC fungicides were used in most of these fields for gray mold control during the last 3 years. A total of 124 single spore B. cinerea isolates were obtained, each from a different fruit. Resistance to thiophanate-methyl (Topsin M 70WP, Cerexagri-Nisso LLC, King of Prussia, PA) was determined using a conidial germination assay as described previously (1). The majority of isolates (81.4%) were resistant; the rest were sensitive. Resistant isolates were found in all locations with some populations (Chesnee, McBee, and Lexington) revealing no sensitive isolates. Genomic DNA from 35 resistant isolates (representing all locations) and 10 sensitive isolates (from Chesnee, Monetta, and North Augusta, SC) was extracted, and the molecular basis of MBC fungicide resistance was determined as described previously (2). All MBC-resistant isolates possessed the E198A mutation known to confer high levels of MBC fungicide resistance in many fungi, including B. cinerea (2,3). Disease was assessed using a detached strawberry fruit assay. Commercially grown strawberry fruit (24 in total for each isolate and fungicide treatment) were rinsed with water, dried, and sprayed 4 h prior to inoculation with either water or 2.4 g/liter of Topsin M to runoff using a hand mister. Fruit was stab-wounded with a sterile syringe and inoculated with a 30-μl droplet of a conidial suspension (106 spores/ml) of either a sensitive or resistant isolate. After inoculation, the fruit were kept at 22°C for 4 days. The sensitive isolate developed gray mold disease in untreated but not Topsin M-treated fruit. The resistant isolate developed gray mold disease of equal severity in both, the control and fungicide-treated fruit. This experiment was repeated once. The results of the study show that resistance to MBC fungicides is common and widespread in B. cinerea from strawberry in South Carolina. Prior to this study, resistance to MBCs has only been reported in B. cinerea from ornamental crops grown in greenhouses in South Carolina (4).
References: (1) J. E. Luck and M. R. Gillings. Mycol. Res. 99:1483, 1995. (2) R. W. S. Weber and M. Hahn. J. Plant Dis. Prot. 118:17, 2011. (3) O. Yarden and T. Katan. Phytopathology 83:1478, 1993. (4) L. F. Yourman and S. Jeffers. Plant Dis. 83:569, 1999.