J. R. Úrbez-Torres, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616;
F. Peduto, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616;
R. J. Smith, University of California Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA 95403; and
W. D. Gubler, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616
Field surveys recently conducted in California and in other grape-growing regions in the United States showed Phomopsis viticola to be one of the most prevalent fungi isolated from grapevine perennial cankers in declining vines. The current study has not only confirmed the presence of P. viticola from grapevine cankers in California but also has for the first time revealed the occurrence of Diaporthe ambigua, D. eres, and D. neotheicola in symptomatic grapevine wood in California by means of morphological studies and multi-gene sequence analysis. Pathogenicity trials conducted on mature cordons of Vitis vinifera ‘Syrah’ and ‘Red Globe’, as well as on lignified Syrah dormant canes, showed P. viticola isolates from California to be capable of causing perennial cankers. Lengths of vascular discoloration caused by P. viticola were similar to those caused by Eutypa lata and several Botryosphaeriaceae spp., which are well-known grapevine trunk disease pathogens. Additionally, a lack of spring growth was commonly observed in dormant canes inoculated with P. viticola spore suspensions in two pathogenicity trials. As part of this study, V. vinifera ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ and ‘Zinfandel’ wood was shown to be more susceptible to infection by P. viticola than ‘Barbera’, ‘Chardonnay’, ‘Merlot’, and ‘Thompson Seedless’ wood. After more than 40 years overlooking P. viticola as a grapevine wood pathogen, this study provides strong evidence of the role of P. viticola as a canker-causing organism, and suggests its addition to the fungi involved in the grapevine trunk disease complex. Results from this study suggest D. ambigua and D. neotheicola to be saprophytes or weak pathogens on grapevine wood.