Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is an important vegetable crop grown in Liaoning Province, China. In May 2012, dark brown, angular lesions were observed on lower, older leaves of 5-month-old tomato plants of cv. Bi Jiao in commercial greenhouses in Dawa County, which is administered by Panjin City in Liaoning Province. The irregularly shaped lesions varied in size from 1 to 7 mm in diameter. The necrotic lesions were usually surrounded by a yellow halo. Sporulation was rarely seen on the leaf surfaces. This contrasts with tomato leaf mold caused by Passalora fulva, in which the conidia develop as a velvety brown patch in lesions. By July 2012, the same disease was found in research greenhouses of Shenyang Agriculture University and Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The incidence of symptoms was 30 to 40%. To identify the pathogen, leaf pieces (3 to 5 mm) with both infected and healthy portions were taken at the edge of lesions and surface-disinfected by placing them in 75% ethanol for 5 s, then transferred to a 0.1% aqueous mercuric chloride solution for 30 s and rinsed with sterilized water three times. The sections were placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) at 25°C in the dark. Ten pure fungal cultures were obtained from single spores. For studies of microscopic morphology, isolates were grown on synthetic nutrient agar (SNA) in slide cultures. Conidia ranged in shape from subglobose or ovoid (2 to 4 × 2 to 3 μm) to subcylindrical (4.5 to 17.8 × 2.4 to 4.5 μm). Conidiophores were straight to slightly flexuous with typical nodes. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region from isolate PJ12-36 was amplified using primers ITS1 and ITS4 and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. KC137278). The 560-bp amplicons had 99% identity to C. oxysporum (JQ775499). On the basis of morphological characteristics (1) and nucleotide homology, the isolate was identified as C. oxysporum. Koch's postulates were fulfilled in the laboratory on fully expanded leaves of 5-week-old tomato plants ‘Moneymaker’ inoculated with C. oxysporum conidial suspensions (107 conidia ml–1). Eight seedlings were incubated in an illuminated incubator at 25°C for 8 to 10 days with 85% relative humidity. Characteristic lesions that developed on inoculated leaves were similar in appearance to those observed on diseased tomato plants in the greenhouse. C. oxysporum was reisolated from lesions and its identity was confirmed by morphological characteristics. C. oxysporum was previously reported as the causal agent of a leaf spot disease of pepper (2) and greenhouse tomato (4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. oxysporum causing disease on tomato foliage in China. It is noteworthy that C. oxysporum has led to a decline in pepper yield in northern regions of China (3). In addition, pathogenicity tests showed that the isolate W10-02 from pepper and the isolate PJ12-36 from tomato could each cause damage to the opposite host, producing symptoms similar to those observed on the host of origin. Studies are needed on strategies to manage C. oxysporum in crops, because its prevalence may cause yield loss both on tomato and pepper in northern regions of China.
References: (1) K. Bensch et al. Stud. Mycol. 67:1, 2010. (2) A. M. Hammouda. Plant Dis. 76:536, 1992. (3) X. Y. Huang et al. Plant Dis. 96:1072, 2012. (4) J. S. Lamboy and H. R. Dillard. Plant Dis. 81:228, 1997.