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First Report of Phytophthora taxon niederhauserii Causing Root and Stem Rot of Mimosa in Italy

May 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  5
Pages  688.2 - 688.2

R. Faedda, S. O. Cacciola, and A. Pane, Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agroalimentari e Ambientali, sezione di Patologia Vegetale, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia 100, 95123 Catania, Italy; P. Martini and M. Odasso, Istituto Regionale per la Floricoltura, 18038 Sanremo, Italy; and G. Magnano di San Lio, Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agrari e Forestali, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, 89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy

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Accepted for publication 31 December 2012.

Mimosa [Acacia dealbata Link, syn. Acacia decurrens (Wendl. F.) Wild. var. dealbata (Link) F. Muell., Fabaceae] is an evergreen shrub native to southeastern Australia that is cultivated as an ornamental plant in warm temperate regions of the world. In spring 2010, in a commercial nursery in Liguria (northern Italy), 6- to 10-month-old potted plants of A. dealbata showed symptoms of sudden collapse, defoliation, and wilt associated with root and basal stem rot. An abundant gum exudate oozed from the basal stem. A Phytophthora species was consistently isolated from roots and stem on BNPRAH selective medium (4). On V8 agar (V8A), axenic cultures obtained by single hyphal transfers formed stellate to radiate colonies with aerial mycelium whereas on potato dextrose agar (PDA) the colonies grew more slowly than on V8A and showed stoloniform mycelium and irregular margins. Minimum and maximum growth temperatures on PDA were 10 and 35°C, with the optimum at 30°C. In water, all isolates produced catenulate or single fusiform hyphal swellings and ellipsoid, nonpapillate, persistent sporangia. Dimensions of sporangia were 46.1 to 65.4 × 23.1 to 30.8 μm (mean l/b ratio 2.1). All isolates were A1 mating type and produced spherical oogonia with amphyginous antheridia when paired with A2 mating type of P. drechsleri Tucker on V8A plus β-sytosterol (4). Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of rDNA of the representative Phytophthora isolate IMI 500394 from A. dealbata were amplified and sequenced in both directions with primers ITS6/ITS4. The consensus sequence (GenBank Accession No. JF900371) was 99% similar to sequences of several isolates identified as Phytophthora taxon niederhauserii Z.G. Abad and J.A. Abad (e.g., GQ848201 and EU244850). Pathogenicity tests were performed on 1-year-old potted plants of A. dealbata with isolate IMI 500394. Twenty plants were transplanted into pots (12-cm-diameter) filled with soil infested (4% v/v) with the inoculum of IMI500394 produced on kernel seeds. Plants were kept in a greenhouse with natural light at 25 ± 2°C and watered to field capacity weekly. All inoculated plants showed symptoms of wilt, leaf chlorosis, and basal stem rot within 3 to 4 weeks. Twenty control plants transplanted in autoclaved soil mix remained healthy. P. taxon niederhauserii was reisolated solely from inoculated plants, thus fulfilling Koch's postulates. Since 2003, this pathogen has been found on bottlebrush and rock rose grown in a nursery in Sicily (southern Italy), as well as on Banksia in a nursery in Liguria (2,3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. taxon niederhauserii on A. dealbata. P. taxon niederhauserii, recently described as P. niederhauserii sp. nov. (1), is a polyphagous pathogen that was originally reported on arborvitae and ivy in North Carolina in 2001.

References: (1) Z. G. Abad et al. Mycologia (in press), 2013. (2) S. O. Cacciola et al. Plant Dis. 93:1075, 2009. (3) S. O. Cacciola et al. Plant Dis. 93:1216, 2009. (4) D. C. Erwin and O. K. Ribeiro. Phytophthora Diseases Worldwide. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 1996.

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