Fresh fig (Ficus carica L.) has been grown on a large scale in Beijing, China, since 2011. In late July 2012, a rot disease occurred on immature fruit of fig after a heavy rain (average daily rainfall 170 mm) in Fangshan District, Beijing, which caused about 30% incidence of green fruit on trees. The symptom first appeared as a water-soaked lesion that was covered with a white, fluffy mass of mycelia, followed by a soft, mushy rot of infected area on the fruit. To isolate the causal agent, mycelia and sporangia from 10 symptomatic fruits were suspended in sterile water, spread on potato dextrose agar (PDA) plates, and incubated at 25°C for 18 h. The isolates from each diseased fruit showed the same colonial characteristics. A single sporangium was isolated under a dissecting microscope and transferred onto PDA to obtain a pure culture. On carrot agar, the colony was white and homogeneous with tidy edge, with a few aerial hyphae. Sporangia were obpyriform with obvious papillae and measured 54.7 to 63.8 (59.3) × 26.5 to 36.3 (30.7) μm. The chlamydospores produced in culture were spherical. The pathogen was identified as Phytophthora palmivora based on the morphological characteristics (3) and confirmed with ITS sequences by PCR amplification using rDNA universal primers ITS1 and ITS4. The resulting sequence (Accession No. KC131229) had a 99% identity to that of P. palmivora (JQ354937) isolated from Pachira aquatica. Koch's postulates were conducted by inoculating six surface-sterilized figs with a PDA plug from a 7-day-old culture, with six noninoculated (PDA plugs only) fruits serving as controls. The inoculated fruits were incubated at room temperature in a plastic box covered with film. Symptoms similar to those on the naturally infected fruits began on wounded fruits 48 h after inoculation and on non-wounded fruits 60 h after inoculation, while the six control fruits remained healthy. P. palmivora was reisolated from the symptomatic fruit tissue. P. palmivora is one of the most severe pathogens on edible figs, being reported by Japanese in 1941 (2). Fruit rot of fig caused by the pathogen was reported in Florida in 1984 (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. palmivora leading to fruit rot on fig in China.
References: (1) N. E. El-Gholl and S. A. Alfieri, Jr. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 97:327, 1984. (2) Y. Nisikado et al. Ber. Ohara Inst. 8:427, 1941. (3) Y. N. Yu. Flora Fungorum Sinicorum: Peronosporales (in Chinese) Vol. 6. Science Press, Beijing, 1998.