In July 2010, fusarium wilt symptoms of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants were found in two commercial greenhouses in the Damyang area of Korea. Approximately 1% of 7,000 to 8,000 tomato plants were wilted and chlorotic in each greenhouse. The vascular tissue was usually dark brown and the discoloration extended to the apex. Fragments (each 5 × 5 mm) of the symptomatic tissue were surface-sterilized with 1% NaOCl for 1 min, then rinsed twice in sterilized distilled water (SDW). The tissue pieces were placed on water agar and incubated at 25°C for 4 to 6 days. Nine Fusarium isolates were obtained from four diseased plants, of which three isolates were identified as F. oxysporum based on morphological characteristics on carnation leaf agar medium and DNA sequences of the translation elongation factor 1-alpha (EF-1α) gene (2). Macroconidia were mostly 3- to 5-septate, slightly curved, and 28 to 53 × 2.8 to 5.2 μm. Microconidia were abundant, borne in false heads or short monophialides, generally single-celled, oval to kidney shaped, and 5 to 23 × 3 to 5 μm. Chlamydospores were single or in short chains. The EF-1α gene was amplified from three isolates by PCR assay using ef1 and ef2 primers (3), and the amplification products were sequenced. The nucleotide sequences obtained were deposited in GenBank (Accession Nos. KC491844, KC491845, and KC491846). BLASTn analysis showed 99% homology with the EF-1α sequence of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici MN-24 (HM057331). Pathogenicity tests and race determination were conducted using root-dip inoculation (4) on seedlings of tomato differential cultivars: Ponderosa (susceptible to all races), Momotaro (resistant to race 1), Walter (resistant to races 1 and 2), and I3R-1 (resistant to all races). A spore suspension was prepared by flooding 5-day-old cultures on potato dextrose agar with SDW. Plants at the first true-leaf stage were inoculated by dipping the roots in the spore suspension (1 × 106 conidia/ml) for 10 min. Inoculated plants were transplanted into pots containing sterilized soil, and maintained in the greenhouse at 25/20°C (12/12 h). Twenty-four seedlings of each cultivar were arranged into three replications. An equal number of plants of each cultivar dipped in water were used as control treatments. Disease reaction was evaluated 3 weeks after inoculation, using a disease index on a scale of 0 to 4 (0 = no symptoms, 1 = slightly swollen and/or bent hypocotyl, 2 = one or two brown vascular bundles in the hypocotyl, 3 = at least two brown vascular bundles and growth distortion, 4 = all vascular bundles brown and the plant either dead or very small and wilted). All isolates caused symptoms of fusarium wilt on all cultivars except I3R-1, indicating that the isolates were race 3. The pathogen was reisolated from the discolored vascular tissue of symptomatic plants. Control plants remained asymptomatic, and the pathogen was not reisolated from the vascular tissue. Fusarium wilt of tomato caused by isolates of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici races 1 and 2 has been reported previously; however, race 3 has not been reported in Korea (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of isolates of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici race 3 on tomato in Korea.
References: (1) O. S. Hur et al. Res. Plant Dis. 18:304, 2012 (in Korean). (2) J. F. Leslie and B. A. Summerell. The Fusarium Laboratory Manual. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA, 2006. (3) K. O'Donnell et al. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 95:2044, 1998. (4) M. Rep et al. Mol. Microbiol. 53:1373, 2004.