L. F. Zhai,
M. X. Zhang,
G. P. Wang, and
L. P. Wang, State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, P. R. China and College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, P. R. China
Aloe vera L. var Chinese (Haw) Berg is a popular ornamental plant cultivated worldwide, whose extracts are used in cosmetics and medicine. Aloe plants are commonly affected by leaf spot disease caused by Alternaria alternata in Pakistan, India, and the United States (1). An outbreak of Alternaria leaf spot recently threatened aloe gel production and the value of ornamental commerce in Louisiana (1). During the summer of 2011, leaf spot symptoms were observed on A. vera plants growing in several greenhouses and ornamental gardens in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. In two of the greenhouses, disease incidence reached 50 to 60%. The initial symptoms included chlorotic and brown spots that expanded to 2 to 4 mm in diameter and became darker with age. Lesions also developed on the tips of 30 to 50% of the leaves per plant. In severe infections, the lesions coalesced causing the entire leaf to become blighted and die. In September of 2012 and February of 2013, 10 symptomatic A. vera leaves were collected randomly from two greenhouses and gardens in Wuhan. A fungus was consistently recovered from approximately 80% of the tissue samples using conventional sterile protocols, and cultured on potato dextrose agar (PDA). The colonies were initially white, becoming grey to black, wool-like, and growing aerial mycelium covering the entire petri dish (9 cm in diameter) plate within 5 days when maintained in the dark at 25°C. The conidia were brown or black, spherical to subspherical, single celled (9 to 13 μm long × 11 to 15 μm wide), borne on hyaline vesicles at the tip of conidiophores. The conidiophores were short and rarely branched. These colonies were identified as Nigrospora oryzae based on the described morphological characteristics of N. oryzae (2). Genomic DNA was extracted from a representative isolate, LH-1, and the internal transcribed spacer region was amplified using primer pair ITS1/ITS4 (3). A 553-bp amplicon was obtained and sequenced. The resulting nucleotide sequence (GenBank Accession No. KC519728) had a high similarity of 99% to that of strain AHC-1 of N. oryzae (JQ864579). Pathogenicity tests for strain LH-1 were conducted in triplicate by placing agar pieces (5 mm in diameter) containing 5-day-old cultures on A. vera leaves. Four discs were placed on each punctured surface of each leaf. Noncolonized PDA agar pieces were inoculated as controls. Leaves were placed in moist chambers at 25°C with a 12-h photoperiod. After 3 days, the inoculated leaves showed symptoms similar to those observed in the greenhouses. N. oryzae was reisolated from these spots on the inoculated leaves. No visible symptoms developed on the control leaves. The pathogenicity tests were performed twice with the same results. Based on the results, N. oryzae was determined as a pathogen responsible for the leaf spots disease on A. vera. N. oryzae has been described as a leaf pathogen on fig (Ficus religiosa), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) (4), and to our knowledge, this is the first report of N. oryae causing leaf spot disease on A. vera worldwide.
References: (1) W. L. da Silva and R. Singh. Plant Dis. 86:1379, 2012. (2) M. B. Ellis. Dematiaceous Hyphomycetes, CAB, Kew, Surrey, England, 1971. (3) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, 1990. (4) L. X. Zhang et al. Plant Dis. 96:1379, 2012.