C. K. Phan,
J. G. Wei,
F. Liu, and
B. S. Chen, Guangxi University, Nanning, Guangxi 530004, China;
J. T. Luo,
X. H. Yang, and
X. F. Tan, Guangxi Forest Pest-Disease Control Station, Nanning, Guangxi 530022, China; and
X. B. Yang, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
Eucalyptus is widely planted in the tropics and subtropics, and it has become an important cash crop in Southern China because of its fast-growing nature. In the Guangxi Province of southern China, Eucalyptus is produced on approximately 2 million ha, and two dominant asexual clones, Guanglin No. 9 (E. grandis × E. urophylla) and DH3229 (E. urophylla × E. grandis), are grown. Diseases are an increasing threat to Eucalyptus production in Guangxi since vast areas are monocultured with this plant. In June 2013, a leaf spot disease was observed in eight out of 14 regions in the province on a total of approximately 0.08 million ha of Eucalyptus. Initially, the lesions appeared as water-soaked dots on leaves, which then became circular or irregular shaped with central gray-brown necrotic lesions and dark red-brown margins. The size of leaf spots ranged between 1 and 3 mm in diameter. The main vein or small veins adjacent to the spots were dark. The lesions expanded rapidly during rainy days, producing reproductive structures. In severe cases, the spots coalesced and formed large irregular necrotic areas followed by defoliation. The causal fungus was isolated from diseased leaves. Briefly, the affected leaves were washed with running tap water, sterilized with 75% ethanol (30 s) and 0.1% mercuric dichloride (3 min), and then rinsed three times with sterilized water. Small segments (0.5 to 0.6 cm2) were cut from the leading edge of the lesions and plated on PDA. The plates were incubated at 25°C for 7 to 10 days. When mycelial growth and spores were observed, a single-spore culture was placed on PDA and grown in the dark at 25°C for 10 days. A pathogenicity test was done by spraying a conidial suspension (5 × 105 conidia ml–1) of isolated fungus onto 30 3-month-old leaves of Guanglin No. 9 seedlings. The plants were covered with plain plastic sheets for 7 days to keep the humidity high. Lesions similar to those observed in the forests were observed on the inoculated leaves 7 to 10 days after incubation. The same fungus was re-isolated. Leaves of control plants (sprayed with sterilized water) were disease free. Conidiophores of the fungus were straight to slightly curved, erect, unbranched, septate, and pale to light brown. Conidia were formed in chains or singly with 4 to 15 pseudosepta, which were oblong oval to cylindrical, subhyaline to pale olivaceous brown, straight to curved, 14.5 to 92.3 μm long, and 3.5 to 7.1 μm wide. The fungus was morphologically identified as Corynespora cassiicola (1). DNA of the isolate was extracted, and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region (which included ITS 1, 5.8S rDNA gene of rDNA, and ITS 2) was amplified with primers ITS5 and ITS4. 529 base pair (bp) of PCR product was obtained and sequenced. The sequence was compared by BLAST search to the GenBank database and showed 99% similarity to C. cassiicola (Accession No. JX087447). Our sequence was deposited into GenBank (KF669890). The biological characters of the fungus were tested. Its minimum and maximum growth temperatures on PDA were 7 and 37°C with an optimum range of 25 to 30°C. At 25°C in 100% humidity, 90% of conidia germinated after 20 h. The optimum pH for germination was 5 to 8, and the lethal temperature of conidia was 55°C. C. cassiicola has been reported causing leaf blight on Eucalyptus in India and Brazil (2,3) and causing leaf spot on Akebia trifoliate in Guangxi (4). This is the first report of this disease on Eucalyptus in China.
References: (1) M. B. Ellis and P. Holliday. CMI Descriptions of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria, No. 303. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, Surrey, UK, 1971. (2) B. P. Reis, et al. New Dis. Rep. 29:7, 2014. (3) K. I. Wilson and L. R. Devi. Ind. Phytopathol. 19:393, 1966. (4) Y. F. Ye et al. Plant Dis. 97:1659, 2013.