B. S. A. Almaliky, Department of Plant Protection, University Putra Malaysia, Selangor, 43400 and Department of Plant Protection, Baghdad University, Baghdad; and
M. A. Zainal Abidin,
J. Kader, and
M. Y. Wong, Department of Plant Protection, University Putra Malaysia, Selangor, 43400
In April and June 2010, coconut seedlings with symptoms of very slow growth, yellowing of leaves, and general abnormal leaf growth were observed in germination beds in Teluk Intan, Perak, Malaysia. The roots were soft, rotten, and brown, extending upward and downward from these lesions. Rhizomorphs and basidiocarps were produced on coconut seeds near the germination eye and identified as Marasmiellus palmivorus according description by Turner (2). Three isolates were obtained by plating surface sterilized symptomatic roots and basidiocarp on malt extract agar (MEA) amended with 85% lactic acid (1 ml added to 11 of the medium). To confirm the identity of the fungus, genomic DNA was extracted from mycelia and basidiocarps of isolates and the large subunit (LSU) region was amplified and sequenced using LR0R/LR7 primers (3). All isolates had identical LSU sequences (GenBank Accession No. JQ654233 to JQ654235). Sequences were identical to each other and 99% similar to a M. palmivorus sequence deposited in the NCBI database (Accession No. AY639434).To confirm pathogenicity, three isolates of M. palmivorus that were obtained from symptomatic plant tissue was inoculated onto seeds of Malaysian Red Dwarf variety. Each isolate was grown in 100 ml of malt extract broth in 250 ml Erlenmeyer flasks and incubated at 27 ± 2°C for 5 days on an orbital shaker (125 rpm). The resulting culture was passed through two layers of sterile cloth. Mycelial suspension was obtained by blending mycelia in 100 ml of sterile water. Seeds were sterilized by soaking in 10% v/v sodium hypochlorite in distilled water for 3 min. The seeds were then rinsed three times over running tap water. The calyx portion of the seed was removed and five holes were made around the germination eye. The seeds were inoculated by injecting 2 ml of suspension into each hole. The control seeds were inoculated with sterile distilled water only. The seeds were transferred to 40-cm diameter plastic pots containing a mixture of sand, soil, and peat in the ratio of 3:2:1, respectively, and steam treated at 100°C for 1.5 h. Pots were placed in the glasshouse with normal exposures to day-night cycles, temperatures of 29 ± 4°C, and high relative humidity (85 to 95%) achieved by spraying water twice daily. After 2 months, 75% of the inoculated seeds failed to germinate. It was speculated that the artificial inoculum was higher than under germination bed conditions. Rhizomorphs and basidiocarps were produced on husk seeds near the germination eye. Seedlings that emerged successfully developed symptoms similar to those observed in the germination bed. No symptoms developed in the noninoculated seeds and seedlings. At 80 days post inoculation, basidiocarps were observed emerging from three diseased seedlings near the germination eye. Three reisolations were made on MEA from root lesions surface sterilized. Pathogenicity tests and LSU sequence analyses indicated that M. palmivorus is the causal agent of the symptoms observed on coconut seedlings. M. palmivorus was first recorded on coconuts and oil palm in the 1920s (1) and attacks the fruit and the petiole on oil palm (2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of M. palmivorus causing post-emergence damping off on coconut seedlings.
References: (1) K. G. Singh. A check-list of host and diseases in Malaysia. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Malaysia, 1973. (2) P. D. Turner. Oil palm diseases and disorders. Oxford University Press. 1981. (3) R. Vilgalys et al. J. Bacteriol. 172:4238, 1990.