Chinese hickory (Carya cathayensis) is one of the important economic forest crops in Zhejiang and Anhui Provinces, China. In 2012, nearly 40% of hickory orchards and 6.8% of hickory trees were affected by leaf blight in Zhejiang. Initial symptoms consisted of small, brown, water-soaked lesions, which subsequently enlarged and developed a black sporulating necrotic center surrounded by a chlorotic halo. Infected leaf samples collected from 25 different orchards in Lin'an and 13 different orchards in Chun'an were surface sterilized with 1.5% sodium hypochlorite for 1.5 min, rinsed in water, plated on 2% potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated at 25°C in the dark for 1 week. Single conidium cultures were consistently isolated and cultured on PDA and V8 agar for morphological characterization (1,3). On both agar media, colonies were dark olive brown with smooth margins and concentric rings of sporulation. Conidia were solitary, darkly pigmented, predominantly ovoid-subsphaeroid, and 23 to 52 × 13 to 23 μm with up to six or seven transepta and one to three longisepta. The ribosomal internal transcribed spacers ITS1 and ITS2 of 10 isolates were amplified using primers ITS1/ITS4 on DNA extracted from mycelium and nucleotide sequences showed 100% similarity to that of A. petroselini (GenBank Accession Nos. AY154685.1 and EU807868.1). To confirm pathogenicity, 10 uninfected leaves from each of 10 C. cathayensis trees were sprayed either with a conidia suspension (105 conidia per ml) or with distilled water only to serve as an un-inoculated control. Leaves were subsequently wrapped in plastic bags to retain moisture, and incubated for 48 h. After 1 week, 8 of 10 isolates caused lesions identical to those initially described whereas no symptoms developed on water inoculated leaves. Cultures reisolated from lesions and cultured on PDA exhibited morphological characteristics identical to A. petroselini (1,2,3), confirming Koch's postulates. To our knowledge, this is the first report of leaf blight in C. cathayensis, and this identification would allow producers to identify for appropriate management practices.
References: (1) P. M. Kirk et al. The Dictionary of the Fungi, 10th edition, page 159. CABI Bioscience, UK, 2008. (2) B. M. Pryor et al. Mycologia 94:49, 2002. (3) E. G. Simmons. Alternaria: An Identification Manual. CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2007.