During July 2012, leaf spots affecting 60% of the leaves were observed on soybean cultivar He Feng 60 in fields near Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, leading to 5 to 10% yield loss. The leaf spots were associated with the leaf margins and were irregularly shaped, with brown to black margins and surrounded by a thin, yellow halo. Often, several spots merged to form large necrotic areas, which contained numerous pycnidia on the underside of the leaf. Small pieces (5 mm2) were excised from the margin of diseased and healthy tissue, surface-sterilized in 70% ethanol solution for 30 s and 0.1% mercuric chloride solution for 1 min, washed in three changes of sterile distilled water, and transferred to plates containing potato dextrose agar (PDA). Cultures were maintained in an incubator at 25°C with a 12 h dark/light photoperiod for 5 to 7 days. On PDA, colonies were white with yellow areas, floccose, dense, and moderately fast growing, attaining a diameter of 3.9 mm after 5 days and 9.0 mm after 14 days. Finally, large black stromata appeared after 28 days at 25°C. The conidiomata pycnidia were black, stomatic, globose, length 83.6 to 232 μm, width 37.9 to 146.3 μm and produced α-conidia that were unicellular, hyaline, sometimes two-guttulate, length 4.75 to 8.25 μm, width 1.50 to 3.00 μm. β-Conidia were not observed. To confirm the morphological identification, the ribosomal internal transcribed spacers (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) from isolates were sequenced (GenBank Accession No. KC460334). The PCR products were cloned into a pMD-19T Cloning Vector (Sangon Biotech, Shanghai, China). The clones were purified with TIANprep Mini Plasmid Kit (Tiangen Biotech, Beijing, China) to get the full-length ITS sequence. BLAST analysis of the isolates showed 100% nucleotide sequence identity with Phomopsis longicolla (AY745021). Four additional primer pairs—large subunit (NL1/NL4), beta-tublin gene (Bt2a/Bt2b), translation elongation factor 1α gene(EF1-728F/EF1-986R), and act gene(ACT-512F/ACT-783R) (1,2)—were amplified and sequenced as described above. The large subunit gene, β-tubulin gene, and translation elongation factor 1α gene from isolates were sequenced (Sangon Biotech). BLAST analysis indicated that the isolates had 100% nucleotide sequence identity with P. longicolla (AB107259, HQ333514, and AF398896). Because the act gene sequence of P. longicolla was not in the NCBI database, this sequence had 94% nucleotide sequence identity with P. cuppatea (JN230389). To fulfill Koch's postulates, five leaves on five healthy soybean plants were inoculated with a conidial suspension (106/ml). Plants inoculated with sterile water served as the noninoculated controls. Plants were incubated in the greenhouse at 25°C. All the inoculated leaves developed pinhead spots on the leaves, gradually increasing to large brown spots. Spots were irregularly shaped, brown and necrotic in the center, and surrounded by a yellow halo. Black pycnidia appeared after 10 days, whereas the noninoculated control plants remained asymptomatic. P. longicolla was consistently recovered from all inoculated plants, except the control. Morphological description of isolates was similar to that of Hobbs (3). However, as described by Hobbs and others, P. longicolla conidiomata pycnidia have prominent necks more than 200 μm long, opening by apical ostioles; locules are uniostiolate or multiostiolate, globose, up to 500 μm wide. The pycnidia size of isolates by frozen section method was smaller than that of Hobbs. Based on morphological and sequence comparisons, the pathogen of leaf spot disease is caused by P. longicolla. This is the first reported leaf spot caused by P. longicolla on soybean in China.
References: (1) T. Boekhou et al. Stud. Mycol. 38:75, 1995. (2) P. W. Crous et al. Stud. Mycol. 75:37, 2013. (3) T. W. Hobbs et al. Mycologia 77:535, 1985.