Research Institute of Pomology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xingcheng, Liaoning, 125199, China
An anthracnose disease was observed on stems of high-bush blueberry plants (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) in Liaoning Province, China in 2012. The typical symptoms consist of sudden wilting and dieback of stems during the growing season. Dark brown lesions originate from infected buds and kill portions of the stems. Lesions have grayish white centers, with the necrotic areas becoming 6 to 8 cm in length. Disinfected stem pieces were placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 28°C for 5 to 7 days, after which the emerging colonies were transferred to fresh PDA. All isolates initially produced white growth, but turned pink after 7 days before becoming blackish green. The average colony diameter was 65.5 to 75.0 mm after 7 days. Conidia were aseptate, hyaline, fusiform to ellipsoid, 8.5 to 16.5 × 2.5 to 4.0 μm in size and single celled with two to seven oil globules. Setae were not found on the acervuli. These characteristics matched published descriptions of Colletotrichum acutatum (1) (teleomorph Glomerella acutata). Pathogenicity test was confirmed in 15 2-year-old healthy potted plants of cv. Berkeley. Stems of 10 plants were punctured with flamed needles and sprayed with 5 ml of conidial suspension (106 conidia per ml in sterile distilled water) of isolate LNSW1. Five control plants were inoculated with sterile distilled water. Seven days after inoculation, eight of the 10 blueberry plants exhibited stem lesions, leaf chlorosis, followed by branch dieback 15 days post-inoculation. The symptoms were similar to those observed on diseased plants in the field, and no lesions were observed on control plants. The pathogen was reisolated from the margin of lesions and identified by colony growth characteristics on PDA. PCR amplification of one isolate (LNSW1) was carried out by utilizing the universal rDNA-ITS primer pair ITS1/ITS4. The sequence (557 bp) of isolate LNSW1 (GenBank Accession No. JX392857) showed 99% identity to G. acutata (AB443950) and C. acutatum (AJ749672) in a BLAST search. An approximately 490-bp fragment was amplified from LNSW1 by the species-specific primer pair CaInt2/ITS4 (2). The pathogen was identified as G. acutata (asexual stage: C. acutatum J.H. Simmonds) on the basis of morphological characters, rDNA-ITS sequence analysis, and a PCR product with species-specific primers. To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. acutatum in high-bush blueberry plants in China.
References: (1) C. Lei et al. Fungal Diversity 12:183, 2009. (2) S. Sreenivasaprasad et al. Plant Pathol. 45:650, 1996