T. B. Adhikari, Center for Integrated Pest Management, and Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, 840 Main Campus Drive, Partners II Building, Suite #1400, Centennial Campus, Box 7253, Raleigh, NC 27606;
C. S. Hodges, Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, Department of Plant Pathology, 1227 Gardner Hall, 100 Derieux Place, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607; and
F. J. Louws, Center for Integrated Pest Management and Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Venture IV Building, 1730 Varsity Drive, Suite 110, Centennial Campus, Raleigh, NC 27606
Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duchesne) is an economically important fruit crop in North Carolina for domestic consumption and export. In April 2012, outbreaks of a destructive root disease were observed in strawberry cv. Chandler in Buncombe, New Hanover, and Roman counties, North Carolina. Samples from Rowan (ID 13175) and Buncombe (ID 13193) counties submitted to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic of the Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, exhibited yellowing and wilting of leaves and extensive root necrosis, and disease severity based on field symptoms ranged from 20 to 30%. To identify the pathogen, five small pieces of necrotic crown and root tissues were taken from each sample, surface disinfested for 1 min in a 1.5% sodium hypochlorite solution, and plated onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) with 0.5 g liter–1 of streptomycin sulfate. Colonies developing from the tissue samples were transferred to PDA. Colonies from both samples were identical, grew relatively slowly, and gradually turned yellowish to partially brownish. After about 7 days, abundant conidia were formed. These were hyaline, mostly straight with both ends rounded, predominantly three septate, and 40 to 50 × 5 to 10 μm. Based on morphological characteristics, these isolates were identified as a species of Cylindrocarpon (1) To confirm the original identification of the fungus as a species of Cylindrocarpon, genomic DNA of both isolates was extracted from mycelia using DNeasy Plant Mini Kit (Qiagen Inc., Valencia, CA) and analyzed using PCR (2). The internal transcribed spacers (ITS)1 and (ITS)2 flanking the 5.8S rRNA regions were amplified and sequenced using universal primers ITS1 (forward) and ITS4 (reverse). The sequences of the 421 bp (GenBank KC847090 and KC847091) of both isolates were identical. Furthermore, a BLASTn search of these sequences showed homology of 99% with the sequences of Cylidrocarpon species (AB369421.1, AM419069.1, AM419074.1, AY295332.1, JN031017.1, JN253505.1, and JQ886422.1), To fulfill Koch's postulates, inoculum of each isolate was prepared and adjusted to 1.5 × 107 conidia/ml using a hemacytometer. ‘Chandler’ strawberry plants were grown in 25-cm diameter plastic pots (one seedling per pot) in the greenhouse and five 6-week-old plants were injected with conidia of each isolate into the base of crown using a 5-ml syringe. The plants were covered with clear plastic for 24 h and left on the greenhouse bench with a 16-h photoperiod and 25/20°C day/night temperatures and assessed for disease development 14 days after inoculation. The inoculated plants exhibited wilting and root necrosis, consistent with the symptoms observed on strawberry plants in the field. Control plants treated with distilled water remained healthy. Isolations were made from the inoculated plants and the fungus used for inoculation was recovered from all plants. The morphology of these isolates was in agreement with published descriptions of Cylindrocarpon (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of a Cylindrocarpon sp. causing crown and root rot on strawberry in North Carolina and effective disease management strategies need to be explored.
References: (1) C. D. Booth. Mycol. Pap. (CMI) 104:1, 1996. (2) T. J. White et al. Page 315 in: PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 1990.