Y. F. Ye and
N. Jiang, Guangxi Key Laboratory of Medicinal Resources Conservation and Genetic Improvement, Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants, Nanning 530023, P. R. China;
G. Fu, Microbiology Research Institute, Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanning 530007, P. R. China; and
F. Y. Hu,
L. H. Liu, and
J. H. Miao, Guangxi Key Laboratory of Medicinal Resources Conservation and Genetic Improvement, Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants, Nanning 530023, P. R. China
Akebia species have been used for centuries in medicinal practices in a few Asian countries such as China and Japan. The dried stems of Akebia trifoliata are known as mutong in the Chinese pharmacopoeia (4) and mokutsu in Kampo, the traditional Chinese medicine developed in Japan (2). In China, the plant is grown in the provinces of Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, Henan, Gansu, and some provinces in the south of the Yangtze River basin. During the summer of 2012, a leaf spot disease was detected on A. trifoliata grown in Nanning, Guangxi, China. The disease occurred and spread rapidly in July under conditions of high temperature and high humidity. The symptoms appeared on three sites that we inspected; disease incidences were higher than 80%. Initial symptoms consisted of small (less than 5 mm in diameter), circular, purple-brown leaf spots. Spots later enlarged and became elliptical, circular, or irregular with gray-white centers and dark brown rims. The centers were slightly concave. The spots could coalesce with each other, resulting in leaf desiccation and wilting. A fungal isolate was obtained from symptomatic leaf tissue that taken from a field (22°50′N, 108°22′E) in Nanning, Guangxi, China. Single-spore culture of the isolate was incubated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) for 7 days in the dark at 28°C. Conidiophores were straight to slightly curved, unbranched, and pale brown. Conidia (19.0 to 140.5 μm long and 7.0 to 11.0 μm wide) were formed singly or in chains, obclavate to cylindrical, straight or curved, pale brown, with a rounded apex and truncate base, and 1 to 13 pseudosepta. Morphological characteristics of the isolate were similar to the descriptions of Corynespora cassiicola (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) C.T. Wei (1). Genomic DNA of the isolate was extracted and used for PCR amplification of rDNA-ITS (internal transcribed spacer) sequence with primers ITS1 and ITS4. The PCR products were purified and sequenced. The sequence (GenBank Accession No. KC977496) was used in BLAST searches to interrogate GenBank for sequence similarity. High sequence similarity of 100% was obtained with several C. cassiicola strains. Pathogenicity of the isolate was investigated to demonstrate Koch's postulate. Young, healthy, fully expanded green leaves of A. trifoliata were surface sterilized. Fifteen leaves were inoculated with 10-μl drops of conidia suspension (105 conidia per ml) and 10 leaves were inoculated with the same volume of sterile water to serve as controls. All the leaves were placed in a humid chamber for 5 days. Spots with similar symptoms to those observed in the field developed on all inoculated leaves. The pathogen was reisolated and identified as C. cassiicola. The controls remained symptomless. According to previous reports, A. trifoliata was infected by Alternaria tenuissima in China and by Colletotrichum acutatum in Japan (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. cassiicola found on Akebia species worldwide. Furthermore, this new disease primarily affects plantations and reduces the quality and yield of the medicine. Some effective measures should be taken to control this disease.
References: (1) M. B. Ellis and P. Holliday. CMI Description of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria, 303, 1971. (2) F. Kitaoka et al. J. Nat. Med. 63:374, 2009. (3) Y. Kobayshi et al. J. Gen. Plant Pathol. 70:295, 2004. (4) L. Li et al. HortScience 45:4, 2010.