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Phytophthora Crown and Root Rot of Zucchini Squash in Almería, Spain

September 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  9
Pages  1,249.2 - 1,249.2

J. Gómez, A. Pérez, and Y. Serrano, IFAPA Centro La Mojonera,Camino de San Nicolás no 1, 04745, La Mojonera, Almería, Spain; and M. I. Aguilar and R. Gómez, Laboratorio de Sanidad Vegetal, Camino de San Nicolás no 1, 04745, La Mojonera, Almería, Spain

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Accepted for publication 12 March 2013.

Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) is intensively cropped in approximately 4,500 ha of plastic houses in southern Spain. In 2008 to 2009, Consul, Cronos, and Tosca zucchini plants showed symptoms of leaf wilting, basal stem necrosis, and plant death. Incidences of dead plants were 20 to 30% and these plants were distributed in clusters. Phytophthora capsici Leonian was isolated from the basal stems of symptomatic plants, using PDA and cornmeal agar amended with a pimaricin, ampicillin, and rifampicin. Five resultant isolates (PCl-211, PCl-221, PCl-611, PCl-612, and PCl-811) on lima beans agar (LBA) produced white mycelia with lemon-shaped and papillate sporangia borne on long pedicels, but no oospores or chlamydospores. These isolates had an identical ribosomal DNA ITS sequence, matching with that of P. capsici in GenBank. The sequences of two representative isolates, PCl-211 and PCl-811, were deposited in GenBank with accession nos. KC662328 and KC688317, respectively. The pathogenicity of these five isolates was tested on zucchini cv. Consul in 1-liter containers filled with vermiculite in May and September of 2009. Plants were inoculated at the 2 to 3 true-leaf stage. Plates with LBA fully covered with colony of each isolate were separately blended and homogenized with 300 ml of sterile distilled water. Inocula were poured around stem at 50 ml per plant. Each experiment had three replicates and four plants per replicate. Treatments with different isolates were arranged in a randomized complete block design. In both experiments, 12 uninoculated plants served as controls. Test plants were maintained for a month following inoculation in a greenhouse with mean temperatures ranging from 21.9 to 27.9°C and from 20.7 to 24.6°C for the May and September experiments, respectively. The first wilting occurred 5 days after inoculation. At the end of the May experiment, all control plants and those inoculated with PCl-221 remained asymptomatic while 83.3% of those inoculated with PCl-211 and 100% of those with the other isolates were dead. Inoculated plants exhibited crown and root rots, excluding the secondary roots. In the September experiment, 83.3% and 33.3% of plants inoculated with PCl-211 and PCl-221, respectively, were symptomatic, while all plants inoculated with the other isolates were dead. The control plants remained healthy. The pathogen was consistently recovered from symptomatic plants in both experiments. Although P. capsici was reported in peppers (Capsicum annuum) in several provinces of Spain (1), to our knowledge, this is the first report of P. capsici as the causal agent of crown rot in zucchini plants in plastic houses in the Almería Province of Spain, one of the world's largest concentrations of greenhouses.

Reference: (1) J. L. Andrés et al. Span J Agric Res 3:326, 2005.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society