F. Chen and
X. Liu, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193; and
G. Schnabel, School of Agricultural, Forest & Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634
In 2012, significant brown rot disease was observed on stone fruit in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina despite preharvest application of methyl benzimidazole carbamate (MBC) and demethylase inhibitor (DMI) fungicides. In total, 140 Monilinia fructicola isolates were collected from diseased orchards and examined for fungicide sensitivity. In addition to isolates resistant to either the DMI propiconazole or the MBC thiophanate-methyl, 22 isolates were discovered that were resistant to both fungicides, including 4 isolates from peach in South Carolina, 12 isolates from peach and sweet cherry in Maryland, and 6 isolates from sweet cherry in Pennsylvania. Analysis of MBC resistance revealed that dual-resistant isolates from South Carolina carried the β-tubulin E198A mutation, whereas isolates from Maryland and Pennsylvania carried E198 mutations not previously described in the Monilinia genus, E198Q or F200Y. The genetic element Mona, associated with DMI fungicide resistance in M. fructicola, was detected in the dual-resistant isolates from South Carolina but not in the isolates from the two more northern states. An investigation into the molecular mechanism of DMI resistance in the latter isolates revealed that resistance was not based on increased expression or mutation of MfCYP51, which encodes the target of DMI fungicides. Label rates of formulated propiconazole or thiophanate-methyl were unable to control dual-resistant isolates on detached peach fruit, confirming field relevance of dual resistance. The same isolates were not affected by fitness penalties based on mycelial growth rate, ability to sporulate, and virulence on detached peach fruit. The emergence of M. fructicola strains resistant to both DMI and MBC fungicides in multiple states and multiple stone fruit crops is a significant development and needs to be considered when designing resistance management strategies in stone fruit orchards.