J. H. Wang,
Z. H. Feng,
S. Q. Song,
S. H. Lin, and
A. B. Wu, Institute for Agri-Food Standards and Testing Technology, Laboratory of Quality and Safety Risk Assessment for Agro-Products (Shanghai), Ministry of Agriculture, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 1000 Jinqi Road, Shanghai 201403, P. R. China. Funding provided by the Shanghai Agriculture Commission (2011NO. 4-3)
Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) is an important vegetable crop worldwide. Some Fusarium species can cause pepper fruit rot, leading to significant yield losses of pepper production and, for some Fusarium species, potential risk of mycotoxin contamination. A total of 106 diseased pepper fruit samples were collected from various pepper cultivars from seven provinces (Gansu, Hainan, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Shandong, Shanghai, and Zhejiang) in China during the 2012 growing season, where pepper production occurs on approximately 25,000 ha. Pepper fruit rot symptom incidence ranged from 5 to 20% in individual fields. Symptomatic fruit tissue was surface-sterilized in 0.1% HgCl2 for 1 min, dipped in 70% ethanol for 30 s, then rinsed in sterilized distilled water three times, dried, and plated in 90 mm diameter petri dishes containing potato dextrose agar (PDA). After incubation for 5 days at 28°C in the dark, putative Fusarium colonies were purified by single-sporing. Forty-three Fusarium strains were isolated and identified to species as described previously (1,2). Morphological characteristics of one strain were identical to those of F. concentricum. Aerial mycelium was reddish-white with an average growth rate of 4.2 to 4.3 mm/day at 25°C in the dark on PDA. Pigments in the agar were formed in alternating red and orange concentric rings. Microconidia were 0- to 1-septate, mostly 0-septate, and oval, obovoid to allantoid. Macroconidia were relatively slender with no significant curvature, 3- to 5-septate, with a beaked apical cell and a foot-shaped basal cell. To confirm the species identity, the partial TEF gene sequence (646 bp) was amplified and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. KC816735). A BLASTn search with TEF gene sequences in NCBI and the Fusarium ID databases revealed 99.7 and 100% sequence identity, respectively, to known TEF sequences of F. concentricum. Thus, both morphological and molecular criteria supported identification of the strain as F. concentricum. This strain was deposited as Accession MUCL 54697 (http://bccm.belspo.be/about/mucl.php). Pathogenicity of the strain was confirmed by inoculating 10 wounded, mature pepper fruits that had been harvested 70 days after planting the cultivar Zhongjiao-5 with a conidial suspension (1 × 106 spores/ml), as described previously (3). A control treatment consisted of inoculating 10 pepper fruits of the same cultivar with sterilized distilled water. The fruit were incubated at 25°C in a moist chamber, and the experiment was repeated independently in triplicate. Initially, green to dark brown lesions were observed on the outer surface of inoculated fruit. Typical soft-rot symptoms and lesions were observed on the inner wall when the fruit were cut open 10 days post-inoculation. Some infected seeds in the fruits were grayish-black and covered by mycelium, similar to the original fruit symptoms observed at the sampling sites. The control fruit remained healthy after 10 days of incubation. The same fungus was isolated from the inoculated infected fruit using the method described above, but no fungal growth was observed from the control fruit. To our knowledge, this is the first report of F. concentricum causing a pepper fruit rot.
References: (1) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA, 2006. (2) K. O'Donnell et al. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 95:2044, 1998. (3) Y. Yang et al. 2011. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 151:150, 2011.