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First Report of Begonia Elatior Wilt Disease Caused by Fusarium foetens in France

January 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  1
Pages  144.1 - 144.1

C. Saurat, C. Fourrier, and V. Wilson, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety, Plant Health Laboratory, Mycology Unit, 54220 Malzéville, France; C. Casset, FREDON Pays de la Loire, 49006 Angers, France; and R. Ioos, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety, Plant Health Laboratory, Mycology Unit, 54220 Malzéville, France

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Accepted for publication 8 October 2012.

Fusarium foetens is a destructive vascular pathogen on Begonia, mainly on cultivars of Begonia elatior hybrids (Begonia × hiemalis), which has recently been identified in Europe and Northern America (1,3). This Fusarium species has been responsible for severe damage in the begonia flower industry (1) and is listed as an EPPO A2 quarantine pathogen since 2007. In May 2007, wilted potted plants of B. elatior showing chlorotic leaves and basal stem rot were observed in a nursery located in the west of France (La Flèche, Sarthe). Symptomatic foliar and basal stem pieces were plated on a Fusarium semi selective medium, dichloran chloramphenicol peptone agar (DCPA), and on malt agar medium supplemented with 100 ppm chloramphenicol. Homogeneous mycelium of a Fusarium species developed from both types of tissue and on both media, and was transferred to potato dextrose agar (PDA) and to spezieller nährstoffarmer agar (SNA) media for morphological examination. Microscope slides were then prepared by pressing gently a clear self-adhesive tape onto the surface covered by mycelium and sporodochia, which was further stained with lactic acid/methylene blue. Typical multiseptate (often three septa), hyaline, slightly curved Fusarium macroconidia 29.2 to 41.8 (32.5) × 3.6 to 4.5 (4.3) μm were collected in sporodochia. In the aerial mycelium, long and short conidiophores with mono- or polyphialidic cells bearing false heads of ellipsoidal microconidia were observed. In addition, a pungent distinctive odor was produced by the mycelium grown on PDA. These features were consistent with F. foetens (2). To support the diagnosis, total DNA was further extracted from the pure culture and a partial region of the translation elongation 1 (tef1) gene was amplified by PCR using EF1-EF2 primer pair (4). Nucleotide sequence was determined and deposited on GenBank (Accession No. JX298790). Analysis of the sequence by BLAST showed that it was 100% identical with all the available F. foetens sequences, which confirmed our morphological diagnosis. To our knowledge, this is the first official report of F. foetens in France. Since this first detection, F. foetens was again identified in 2010 in another nursery located in the Pays de la Loire on collapsed B. elatior. Approximately 15 to 20% of the Begonia plants showed typical Fusarium wilt symptoms and the infected lots were systematically destroyed. The origin of these infections could not be traced back since the mother plants tested negative. The disease is considered as eradicated in France but causes major economic losses to Begonia growers and marketers in regions where the disease is established (2).

References: (1) H. Huvenne et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 131:705, 2011. (2) H. J. Schroers et al. Mycologia 96:393, 2004. (3) X. L. Tian et al. Plant Dis. 94:1261, 2010. (4) D. Geiser. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 110:473, 2004.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society