Gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. is one of the most economically important diseases of cultivated strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) worldwide. Control of gray mold mainly depends on fungicides, including the phenylpyrrole fludioxonil, which is currently marketed in combination with cyprodinil as Switch 62.5WG (Syngenta Crop Protection, Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, NC). In 2012, 790 strains of B. cinerea were collected from 76 strawberry fields in eight states, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Strains were collected from sporulating flowers and fruit and sensitivity to fludioxonil was determined using a conidial germination assay as previously described (2). Only one isolate from a farm located in Westmoreland County, Virginia, grew on medium amended with the discriminatory dose of 0.1 μg/ml fludioxonil and was therefore considered low resistant. The isolate did not grow on 10 μg/ml. All other 789 isolates did not grow at either of the two doses. This assay was repeated twice with a single-spore culture of the same strain. In both cases, residual growth was observed on the fludioxonil-amended medium of 0.1 μg/ml. The single spore isolate was confirmed to be B. cinerea Pers. using cultural and molecular tools as described previously (1). To assess resistance in vivo, commercially grown ripe strawberry fruit were rinsed with sterile water, dried, placed into plastic boxes (eight strawberries per box for each of the three replicates per treatment), and sprayed 4 h prior to inoculation with either water or 2.5 ml/liter of fludioxonil (Scholar SC, Syngenta) to runoff using a hand mister. This dose reflects the rate recommended for gray mold control according to the Scholar label. Each fruit was stabbed at three equidistant points, each about 1 cm apart and 1 cm deep using a syringe tip. Wounds were injected with a 30-μl droplet of conidia suspension (106 spores/ml) of either 5 sensitive or the resistant isolate. Control fruit were inoculated with water. After inoculation, the fruit were kept at 22°C for 4 days. In two independent experiments, sensitive and low resistant isolates were indistinguishable in pathogenicity on detached, unsprayed fruit. The low resistant isolate developed gray mold disease on all treated and untreated fruit (100% disease incidence) as determined by the absence or presence of gray mold symptoms. The sensitive isolates only developed disease on untreated fruit. The EC50 values, determined in microtiter assays with concentrations of 0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, and 10 μg/ml fludioxonil, were 0.01 μg/ml for the sensitive isolates and 0.26 μg/ml for the resistant isolate. To our knowledge, this is the first report of fludioxonil resistance in B. cinerea from strawberry in North America. Our monitoring results indicate that resistance is emerging 10 years after the introduction of fludioxonil and stress the importance of chemical rotation for gray mold control.
References: (1) X. P. Li et al. Plant Dis. 96:1634, 2012. (2) R. W. S. Weber and M. Hahn. J. Plant Dis. Prot. 118:17, 2011.