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Magnolia grandiflora is a widely cultivated ornamental tree in China. In June 2020, a leaf blight disease was observed on M. grandiflora in Guizhou University (26° 44' 57'' N, 106° 65' 94'' E) in Guiyang, China. The initial symptoms on leaves were expanding round necrotic lesions with a grey center and dark brown edge, and twigs were withered when the disease was serious. Of the 100 plants surveyed 65% had symptoms. To isolate the potential causal pathogen, diseased leaves were collected from an M. grandiflora tree at Guizhou University. Isolations from made form the junction between healthy and symptomatic tissue and disinfested by immersing in 75% ethanol for 30 seconds, 3% NaOCl for 2 minutes, and then washed 3 times in sterile distilled water. Symptomatic tissue was then plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) and incubated at 25ºC with 12-hour light for 3–5 days. Three isolates (GUCC 21235.1, GUCC 21235.2 and GUCC 21235.3) were obtained. Colonies on PDA after 7 d were dark brown, pycnidia embedded in the mydelium were dark brown to black, single and separated. Conidiophores were transparent measuring 7–12.5 × 2.5–4.5 µm (mean = 9.5 × 3.6 µm, n = 30) in length. Conidia were transparent becoming brown when mature with a diaphragm, with round ends measuring, 21–27 × 10–15 µm (mean = 23.6 × 12.6 µm, n = 30). To confirm the pathogen by molecular characterization, four genes or DNA fragments, ITS, LSU, tef1 and β-tubulin, were amplified using the following primer pairs: ITS4-F/ ITS5-R (White et al., 1990), LR0R/ LR5 (Rehner & Samuels, 1994), EF1-688F/ EF1-986R (Carbone & Kohn, 1999) and Bt2a/ Bt2b (O'Donnell & Cigelnik, 1997). The sequences of four PCR fragments of GUCC 21235.1 were deposited in GenBank, and the accession numbers were MZ519778 (ITS), MZ520367 (LSU), MZ508428 (tef1) and MZ542354 (β-tubulin). Bayesian inference was performed based on a concatenated dataset of ITS, LSU, tef1 and β-tubulin gene using MrBayes 3.2.10, and the isolates GUCC 21235.1 formed a single clade with the reference isolates of Diplodia mutila (Diplodia mutila strain CBS 112553). BLASTn analysis indicated that the sequences of ITS, LSU, tef1 and β-tubulin revealed 100% (546/546 nucleotides), 99.82% (568/569 nucleotides), 100% (302/302 nucleotides), and 100% (437/437 nucleotides) similarity with that of D. mutila in GenBank (AY259093, AY928049, AY573219 and DQ458850), respectively. For confirmation of the pathogenicity of this fungus, a conidial suspension (1×105 conidia mL-1) was prepared from GUCC 21235.1, and healthy leaves of M. grandiflora trees were surface-disinfested by 75% ethanol, rinsed with sterilized distilled water and dried by absorbent paper. Small pieces of filter paper (5 mm ×5 mm), dipped with 20 µL conidial suspension (1×105 conidia mL-1) or sterilized distilled water (as control), were placed on the bottom-left of the leaves for inoculation. Then the leaves were sprayed with sterile distilled water, wrapped with a plastic film and tin foil successively to maintain high humidity in the dark dark. After 36 h, the plastic film and tin foil on the leaves was removed, and the leaves were sprayed with distilled water three times each day at natural condition (average temperature was about 25 °C, 14 h light/10 h dark). After 10 days of inoculation, the same leaf blight began to appear on the leaves inoculated with conidial suspension. No lesion was appeared on the control leaves. The fungus was re-isolated from the symptomatic tissue. Based on the morphological information and molecular characterization, the isolate GUCC 21235.1 is D. mutila. Previous reports indicated that D. mutila infects a broad host range and gives rise to a canker disease of olive, apple and jujube (Úrbez-Torres et al., 2013; Úrbez-Torres et al., 2016; Feng et al., 2019). This is the first report of leaf blight on M. grandiflora caused by D. mutila in China.
Maize (Zea mays L.) is a cereal crop of great economic importance in Italy; production is currently of 60,602,320 t, covering 588,597 ha (ISTAT 2021). Trichoderma species are widespread filamentous fungi in soil, well known and studied as biological control agents (Vinale et al., 2008). Seeds of a yellow grain hybrid (class FAO 700, 132 days) were collected in September 2020 from an experimental field located in Carmagnola (TO, Italy: GPS: 44°53'11.0"N 7°40'60.0"E) and tested with blotter test (Warham et al., 1996) to assess their phytosanitary condition. Over the 400 seeds tested, more than 50% showed rotting and development of green mycelium typical of the genus Trichoderma. Due to the high and unexpected percentage of decaying kernels, ten colonies were identified by morphological and molecular methods. Single conidia colonies of one Trichoderma (T5.1) strain were cultured on Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) for pathogenicity tests, and on PDA and Synthetic Nutrient-Poor Agar (SNA) for morphological and molecular identification. The colonies grown on PDA and SNA showed green, abundant, cottony, and radiating aerial mycelium, and yellow pigmentation on the reverse. Colony radius after 72 h at 30°C was of 60-65 mm on PDA and of 50-55 mm on SNA. The isolates produced one cell conidia 2.8 - 3.8 µm long and 2.1 - 3.6 µm wide (n=50) on SNA. Conidiophores and phialides were lageniform to ampulliform and measured 4.5 – 9.7 µm long and 1.6 – 3.6 µm wide (n=50); the base measure 1.5 – 2.9 µm wide and the supporting cell 1.4 – 2.8 µm wide (n=50). The identity of one single-conidia strain was confirmed by sequence comparison of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS), the translation elongation factor-1α (tef-1α), and RNA polymerase II subunit (rpb2) gene fragments (Oskiera et al., 2015). BLASTn searches of GenBank using ITS (OL691534) the partial tef-1α (OL743117) and rpb2 (OL743116) sequences of the representative isolate T5.1, revealed 100% identity for rpb2 to T. afroharzianum TRS835 (KP009149) and 100% identity for tef-1α to T. afroharzianum Z19 (KR911897). Pathogenicity tests were carried out by suspending conidia from a 14-days old culture on PDA in sterile H2O to 1×106 CFU/ml. Twenty-five seeds were sown in pots filled with a steamed mix of white peat and perlite, 80:20 v/v, and maintained at 23°C under a seasonal day/night light cycle. Twenty primary ears were inoculated, by injection into the silk channel, with 1 ml of a conidial suspension of strain T5.1 seven days after silk channel emergence (BBCH 65) (Pfordt et al., 2020). Ears were removed four weeks after inoculation and disease severity, reaching up to 75% of the kernels of the twenty cobs, was assessed visually according to the EPPO guidelines (EPPO, 2015). Five control cobs, inoculated with 1 ml of sterile distilled water were healthy. T. afroharzianum was reisolated from kernels showing a green mold developing on their surface and identified by resequencing of tef-1α gene. T. afroharzianum has been already reported on maize in Germany and France as causal agent of ear rot of maize (Pfordt et al. 2020). Although several species of Trichoderma are known to be beneficial microorganisms, our results support other findings that report Trichoderma spp. causing ear rot on maize in tropical and subtropical areas of the world (Munkvold and White, 2016). The potential production of mycotoxins and the losses that can be caused by the pathogen during post-harvest need to be explored. To our knowledge this is the first report of T. afroharzianum as a pathogen of maize in Italy.
Camellia oleifera, a major tree species for producing edible oil, is originated in China. Its oil is also called ‘‘eastern olive oil’’ with high economic value due to richness in a variety of healthy fatty acids (Lin et al. 218). However, leaves are susceptible to leaf spot disease (Zhu et al. 2014). In May 2021, we found circular to irregular reddish-brown lesions, 4-11 mm in diameter, near the leaf veins or leaf edges on 30%-50% leaves of 1/3 oil tea trees in a garden of Hefei City, Anhui Province, China (East longitude 117.27, North latitude 31.86) (Figure S1 A). To isolate the causal agents, symptomatic leaves were cut from the junction of diseased and healthy tissues (5X5 mm) and treated with 70 % alcohol for 30 secs and 1 % NaClO for 5 min, and subsequently inoculated onto PDA medium for culture. After 3 days, hyphal tips were transferred to PDA. Eventually, five isolates were obtained. Then the isolates were cultured on PDA at 25°C for 7 days and the mycelia appeared yellow with a white edge and secreted a large amount of orange-red material to the PDA (Figure S1 B and C). Twenty days later, the mycelium appeared reddish-brown, and sub-circular (3-10 mm) raised white or yellow mycelium was commonly seen on the Petri dish, and black particles were occasionally seen. Meanwhile, the colonies on the PDA produced abundant conidia. Microscopy revealed that conidia were globular to pyriform, dark, verrucose, and multicellular with 14.2 to 25.3 μm (=19.34 μm, n = 30) diameter (Figure S1 D). The morphological characteristics of mycelial and conidia from these isolates are similar to that of Epicoccum layuense (Chen et al.2020). To further determine the species classification of the isolates, DNA was extracted from 7-day-old mycelia cultures and the PCR-amplified fragments were sequenced for internal transcribed spacer (ITS), beta-tubulin and 28S large subunit ribosomal RNA (LSU) gene regions ITS1/ITS4, Bt2a/Bt2b and LR0R/LR5, followed by sequencing and molecular phylogenetic analysis of the sequences analysis (White et al. 1990; Glass and Donaldson 1995; Vilgalys and Hester 1990). Sequence analysis revealed that ITS, beta-tubulin, and LSU divided these isolates into two groups. The isolates AAU-NCY1 and AAU-NCY2, representing the first group (AAU-NCY1 and AAU-NCY5) and the second group (AAU-NCY2, AAU-NCY3 and AAU-NCY4), respectively, were used for further studies. Based on BLASTn analysis, the ITS sequences of AAU-NCY1 (MZ477250) and AAU-NCY2 (MZ477251) showed 100 and 99.6% identity with E. layuense accessions MN396393 and KY742108, respectively. And, the beta-tubulin sequences (MZ552310; MZ552311) showed 99.03 and 99.35% identity with E. layuense accessions MN397247 and MN397248, respectively. Consistently, their LSU (MZ477254; MZ477255) showed 99.88 and 99.77% identity with E. layuense accessions MN328724 and MN396395, respectively. Phylogenetic trees were built by maximum likelihood method (1,000 replicates) using MEGA v.6.0 based on the concatenated sequences of ITS, beta-tubulin and LSU (Figure S2). Phylogenetic tree analysis confirmed that AAU-NCY1 and AAU-NCY2 are closely clustered with E. layuense stains (Figure S2). To test the pathogenicity, conidial suspension of AAU-NCY2 (106 spores/mL) was prepared and sterile water was used as the control. Twelve healthy leaves (six for each treatment) on C. oleifera tree were punched with sterile needle (0.8-1mm), the sterile water or spore suspension was added dropwise at the pinhole respectively (Figure S1 E and F). The experiment was repeated three times. By ten-day post inoculation, the leaves infected by the conidia gradually developed reddish-brown necrotic spots that were similar to those observed in the garden, while the control leaves remained asymptomatic (Figure S1 G and H). DNA sequences derived from the strain re-isolated from the infected leaves was identical to that of the original strain. E. layuense has been reported to cause leaf spot on C. sinensis (Chen et al. 2020), and similar pathogenic phenotypes were reported on Weigela florida (Tian et al. 2021) and Prunus x yedoensis Matsumura in Korea ( Han et al. 2021). To our knowledge, this is the first report of E. layuense causing leaf spot on C. oleifera in Hefei, China.
First Report of Paraphoma chrysanthemicola Causing Crown and Leaf Rot of Atractylodes lancea in China
Atractylodes lancea is an important traditional Chinese medicinal plant whose rhizome is used for treating complaints such as rheumatic diseases, digestive disorders, night blindness and influenza. Jiangsu Province is the optimal cultivation location for high-quality A. lancea rhizome. Since June 2019, symptoms of crown rot and leaf rot were observed in about 10-20% of the A. lancea in a plantation (31° 36' 1" N, 119° 6' 40" W) in Lishui, Jiangsu, China. Lesions occurred on the stem near the soil line and on the leaves (Fig. 1A). Disease incidence reached approximately 80-90% by September, 2021 (Fig. 1B) and resulted in severe loss of rhizome and seed yields. For pathogen isolation, ten samples of symptomatic stem segments and ten diseased leaves were collected, surface-sterilized using 5% NaClO solution, rinsed with sterile water, cut into 0.5-2 cm segments, and plated to potato dextrose agar (PDA), and then incubated at 30°C in darkness. Pure cultures of four isolates showing morphological characteristics of Paraphoma spp. were obtained, identified as a single P. chrysanthemicola strain, and named LSL3f2. Newly formed colonies initially consisted of white mycelia; the five-day-old colonies developed a layer of whitish grey mycelia with a grey underside. 20-day-old colonies had white mycelium along the margin and with a faint yellow inner circular part with irregular radial furrows, and the reverse side looking caramel and russet (Fig. 1C). Pycnidia were subglobose (diameter: 5 to 15 μm; Fig. 1D). Unicellular, bicellular or strings of globose or subglobose chlamydospores developed from hyphal cells (Fig. 1E and 1F). The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and large subulin-28S of LSL3f2 were cloned using primers ITS1/ITS4 and LR0R/LR7 (Aveskamp et al. 2010, Li et al. 2013), and deposited in GenBank (OK559658 and OK598973, respectively). BLASTn search and phylogenetic analysis showed the highest identity between LSL3f2 and P. chrysanthemicola sequences (Fig. 1G) and confirmed LSL3f2 as P. chrysanthemicola. Koch’s postulates were completed using one-month-old vegetatively propagated A. lancea plantlets growing on autoclaved vermiculite/peat mixture at 26°C with a light/dark cycle of 12/12 hours. Each plantlet was inoculated with 5 ml of conidial suspension in water (1 × 108 cfu/ml) by applying to soil close to the plantlet, with sterile water used as a mock control (n = 10). By 20 days post-inoculation, inoculated plantlets showed a range of disease symptoms consistent to those observed in infested fields (Fig. 1H). Pathogenicity was additionally confirmed using detached leaves inoculated with a colonized agar plug of LSL3f2 or an uninoculated control comparison (diameter = 5 mm) and incubated at 26℃ in the dark. Five to seven days post-inoculation, detached leaves showed leaf rot symptoms including lesions, yellowing and withering consistent with those in infested fields, while control leaves remained healthy (n = 10, Fig. 1I). The pathogen was reisolated from the diseased plantlets and detached leaves, in both cases demonstrating the micromorphological characteristics of LSL3f2. P. chrysanthemicola has been reported to cause leaf and crown rot on other plants such as Tanacetum cinerariifolium (Moslemi et al. 2018), and leaf spot on A. japonicain (Ge et al. 2016). However, this is the first report of P. chrysanthemicola causing crown and leaf rot on A. lancea in China.
Laurel wilt is a lethal vascular disease affecting native Lauraceae in North America. The causal fungus, Raffaelea lauricola T.C. Harr., Fraedrich & Aghayeva and its symbiont, redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus Eichhoff are native to Asia (Fraedrich et al. 2008, Harrington et al. 2008). Since their introduction near Savannah, Georgia in 2002 (Fraedrich et al. 2008), laurel wilt has spread rapidly, resulting in extensive mortality of native redbay (Persea borbonia [L.] Spreng.) [Hughes et al. 2017] and is a threat to other native Lauraceae, such as sassafras (Sassafras albidum [Nutt.] Nees) (Bates et al. 2013) and northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin [L.] Blume) [Olatinwo et al. 2021]. In June 2021 a sassafras sapling showing wilt and dieback was observed along a roadside in Scott County, Virginia, which borders a laurel wilt-positive Tennessee county (Loyd et al. 2020). The trunk (approximately 5 cm diameter) was submitted to the Virginia Tech Plant Clinic. Although beetle holes were observed, X. glabratus was not found. Discolored sapwood chips were excised and plated on malt extract agar amended with cycloheximide (200 ppm) and streptomycin (100 ppm) [CSMA]. A fungus was consistently recovered and the morphology of conidiophores and conidia, and presence of blastoconidia and mucoid growth, aligned with the description of R. lauricola (Harrington et al. 2008). Two R. lauricola-specific primer sets (Dreaden et al. 2014) were used to amplify DNA extracted from a representative isolate (0248-2021) and confirm R. lauricola. For further confirmation, the LSU region of the rDNA was sequenced (Lloyd et al. 2020). The sequence of the isolate (GenBank accession no. OL583842) showed 100% identity (573/573 bp) to R. lauricola ex-type strain sequence, CBS 121567 (accession no. MH877762) (Harrington et al. 2008, Vu et al. 2018). The isolate was also confirmed by the National Identification Services by sequencing. To confirm pathogenicity, 15 sassafras seedlings (height = 60-100 cm, diameter = 8-10 mm) were inoculated with a conidial suspension harvested from 10-day CSMA cultures of 0248-2021, as follows: two 0.4 mm diameter holes were drilled 10 cm above the soil line at a 45° angle on opposite sides of the stem, leaving at least 3 cm between holes. Ten µl of the conidial suspension (5 x 107/ml) was transferred into each hole and sealed with parafilm. Two sassafras seedlings were inoculated with sterile water. Seedlings were maintained with 12 h photoperiod at 27° ± 2° C. Off-color foliage and loss of turgor were observed 10 days post-inoculation on conidia-inoculated seedlings; at two weeks, these were completely wilted and had sapwood discoloration. Water-inoculated plants showed no symptoms. Sapwood from 15 cm above the inoculation point was excised from 0248-2021-inoculated plants (n=2) and water-inoculated plants (n=1) and plated on CSMA. R. lauricola was recovered from symptomatic plants, but not from water-inoculated plants. The identity of the recovered fungus was confirmed with two species-specific primers sets (Dreaden et al. 2014). It is likely that laurel wilt is more prevalent in the area of the roadside find. Both sassafras and northern spicebush are widespread in Virginia and their range extends into the northeastern US and lower Canada. Laurel wilt poses a serious threat to these species and their ecosystems. For example, spicebush and sassafras are primary hosts of the native spicebush swallowtail butterfly (Papilio troilus L.) [Nitao et al. 1991].
A Putative D-Arabinono-1,4-lactone Oxidase, MoAlo1, Is Required for Fungal Growth, Conidiogenesis, and Pathogenicity in Magnaporthe oryzae
Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast outbreaks. L-ascorbic acid (ASC) is a famous antioxidant found in nature. However, while ASC is rare or absent in fungi, a five-carbon analog, D-erythroascorbic acid (EASC), seems to appear to be a substitute for ASC. Although the antioxidant function of ASC has been widely described, the specific properties and physiological functions of EASC remain poorly understood. In this study, we identified a D-arabinono-1,4-lactone oxidase (ALO) domain-containing protein, MoAlo1, and found that MoAlo1 was localized to mitochondria. Disruption of MoALO1 (ΔMoalo1) exhibited defects in vegetative growth as well as conidiogenesis. The ΔMoalo1 mutant was found to be more sensitive to exogenous H2O2. Additionally, the pathogenicity of conidia in the ΔMoalo1 null mutant was reduced deeply in rice, and defective penetration of appressorium-like structures (ALS) formed by the hyphal tips was also observed in the ΔMoalo1 null mutant. When exogenous EASC was added to the conidial suspension, the defective pathogenicity of the ΔMoalo1 mutant was restored. Collectively, MoAlo1 is essential for growth, conidiogenesis, and pathogenicity in M. oryzae.
Effects of Trichoderma strigosellum in Eucalyptus urophylla Development and Leaf-Cutting Ant Behavior
Fungal endophytes can protect plants against herbivory and be used to control leaf-cutting ants. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential of endophytic colonization of Eucalyptus urophylla by three filamentous fungal species and their influence on the plant development and foraging behavior of Atta sexdens. The study design was completely randomized and comprised a factorial scheme of 4 × 3, three antagonistic fungal species (Escovopsis sp., Metarhizium anisopliae, and Trichoderma strigosellum) of the leaf-cutting ant, and one control and three inoculation methods (conidial suspension via foliar spray [FS] and soil drench [SD] inoculation, and seedlings inoculated with mycelium [SWM]). The SWM method allowed T. strigosellum to colonize all plant organs, and these plants exhibited higher height, leaf number, shoot dry mass, and total dry mass than the ones subjected to the other inoculation methods. The SWM method increased the plant height than the control plants and those inoculated with Escovopsis sp. and M. anisopliae. Trichoderma strigosellum, previously isolated from soil, colonized E. urophylla plants and positively influenced their development, as demonstrated by the SWM method. Trichoderma strigosellum promoted the increase in E. urophylla height compared with when the FS and SD methods were used (by 19.62% and 18.52%, respectively). Our results reveal that A. sexdens workers preferentially began cutting the leaves from plants not previously colonized by T. strigosellum. This behavior can be explained by modifications in the phenotypic traits of the eucalyptus leaves.
Occurrence of leaf spot caused by Neodeightonia phoenicum on pygmy date plam (Phoenix roebelenii) in China
The pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) is a popular ornamental plant widely cultivated in tropical regions as well as in China. In June 2018, a new leaf spot symptoms were observed on P. roebelenii in several different parks in Zhanjiang City of China. The early symptoms of infected leaves were presented with small, round, pale brown spots. As the size of these spots increased, they coalesced to form larger irregular necrotic lesions surrounded by dark brown edges, which eventually led to leaf wilted and defoliation. A filamentous fungus was consistently isolated from infected leaf samples. Colonies on PDA at 25°C (12 h light/dark) were initially white with abundant aerial mycelium, which turned fluffy and dark olivaceous after one-week culture. Pycnidial conidiomata were black and globose and formed on pine needles in water agar at 25°C (12 h light/dark) after 21 days. Conidiogenous cells were hyaline, cylindrical, holoblastic. The conidia was ovoid to ellipsoid, thick-walled, which was initially hyaline and aseptate, later turned into dark brown and 1-septate with a striate appearance to conidia, 11.6~25.0 μm×9.6~12.0 μm (av. 20.4 μm×10.1 μm). For molecular identification, the partial sequences of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions, translation elongation factor (EF-1α) and β-tubulin (TUB) genes of two representative isolates RYCK-1, RYCK-2 were amplified and sequenced using primer pairs ITS/ITS4 (White et al. 1990), EF-688F/EF-986R (Carbone and Kohn 1999), and Bt2a/Bt2b (Glass and Donaldson 1995), respectively. The sequences of the above three loci of the two isolates (accession nos. ITS, OK329968 and OK329969; EF-1α, OK338067 and OK338068; TUB, OK338069 and OK338070) showed 98.4-100.0 % identity with the existing sequences of ex-type culture CBS 122528 of N. phoenicum. A multilocus phylogenetic analysis of the three loci concatenated sequences using the maximum likelihood method showed the isolates that belongs to N. phoenicum. Based on the morphological characteristics and molecular analysis of the isolates, the fungus was identified as N. phoenicum (Phillips et al. 2008). To confirm pathogenicity, five one-year-old potted plants were used for each isolate (RYCK-1 and RYCK-2) and the plants were inoculated by pricking the epidermis of the leaf with a needle. Five leaves of each plant were sprayed with 100 µl of a conidial suspension (1 × 106 conidia/ml) to the wounded surface for each plant. Sterilized distilled water was used as the control and the experiment was repeated. All the plants were incubated at 26 ± 2°C (12 h light/dark) and covered with plastic bags to maintain constant high humidity. After 14 days, all the inoculated leaves showed the same symptoms as those observed in the original diseased plants, but the control plants remained health. The reisolated fungus was identified as N. phoenicum by morphological and molecular characteristics. N. phoenicum is an important pathogen of Phoenix species plants worldwide, which have been reported to cause shoot blights and stalk rots on P. dactylifera and P. canariensis in Greece (Ligoxigakis et al. 2013) and root rot on P. dactylifera in Qatar (Nishad and Ahmed 2020). To our knowledge, this is first report N. phoenicum causing leaf spot on P. roebelenii in China.
Anthracnose symptoms on olive (Olea europaea) fruits cv. “Gamlick” were found in farmer orchards in Chakwal, Punjab, Pakistan (32° N and 72° E), with an average prevalence of 59%. Fruit symptoms start as thin, black, sunken lesions with a watery appearance that grow in diameter and coalesce into a large sunken soft zone. Lesions on mature fruit become noticeable in 5 to 6 days after infection, if temperatures are favorable (28°C). On the fruit lesion, orange conidial masses in dispersed or concentric circle arrangement can appear. Fragments (5 mm) were taken from the margins of fruit lesions and surface-sterilized with 70% ethanol (1 min) and 1% NaClO (2 min), cleaned with sterile purified water, blotted dry, and plated on potato dextrose agar (PDA) in Petri dishes. The petri plates were incubated at 27°C. A fungus was consistently isolated, and thirty-five isolates were characterized. Aerial mycelia from olive isolates Colonies were compact, initially white or cream white, then grey, and eventually dark grey, with conidium masses forming in the middle. Mycelium is branched, septate, and hyaline. Conidia are hyaline, aseptate, fusiform, or often cylindrical, with obtuse apices and tapering bases. Their mean size was 8.5µm in length and 3.0 µm in width. Based on morphological features, the fungus was tentatively identified as Colletotrichum acutatum (Agosteo G.E., 2010). The identification was confirmed by amplification and sequencing of a representative isolate's internal transcribed region (ITS), Beta- tubulin region (TUB2), Actin region (ACT), and Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase region (GAPDH) with the primers ITS1/ITS4 (Gardes & Bruns 1993), TUB4/TUB5 (Woudenberg et al. 2009), ACT1/ACT3 (Carbone & Kohn 1999) and GDF1/GDR1 (Guerber et al. 2003). BLAST analysis revealed 100% identity for ITS, GAPDH and ACT and 99% identity for TUB, between the sequences of the olive fruit isolate (GenBank Accessions MW647502, MZ436968, MZ714412 and MW810331, respectively) and sequences of C. acutatum reference isolates (GenBank Accessions GO613492, KF975660.1, MT274752.1 and MH547616 respectively). Phylogenetic analysis based on ITS, GAPDH and TUB regions of the olive fruit isolates and reference isolates of various Colletotrichum species using the MEGA X software program confirmed the isolate from olive was C. acutatum. The fungal isolate was deposited as a living culture in the Barani Agricultural Research Institute's fungal culture collection center (BACA.9381). Pathogenicity tests were conducted with this isolate by placing a 20 µl drop of a conidial suspension (3 × 107conidia ml−1) on five healthy olive cv. Gemlik fruits. As a control, five non-inoculated olive fruits were used. Fruits were placed at a temperature of 27°C with artificial light and a photoperiod of 12 hours. Anthracnose symptoms developed only on inoculated fruits after seven days of inoculation. The fungus was re-isolated from symptomatic fruits, and its identity was confirmed through morphological characteristics, thus verifying Koch's postulates. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of C. acutatum infecting olive fruits in Chakwal region of Pakistan.
First report of Colletotrichum circinans Causing Anthracnose in Allium fistulosum L. var. giganteum Makino in Gansu Province, China
In September 2018, severe symptoms and high incidence (about 60%) of an onion anthracnose disease attributable to infection by Colletotrichum spp. was observed in production fields of Dingxi city, Gansu Province, China. The mature onion plants near to harvest (Allium fistulosum L. var. giganteum Makino) expressing necrotic symptoms had oval lesions with dark spots that were made up of stromatic masses that had formed beneath the cuticle of the plant base. Twenty symptomatic plants were sampled. Symptomatic tissues were surface sterilized with sodium hypochlorite, transferred aseptically to 20 mL potato dextrose agar in a petri plate and incubated at 30 ± 2 °C. After seven days, cultures produced acervuli and setae, a characteristic sign of Colletotrichum spp. Acervuli were observed with a black, bulbous base and acicular setae while conidia were elliptical (14-25 x 3-6 µm), unicellular hyaline and slightly falcate (Figure 1). DNA was extracted from a 7-day old culture and the ITS region was amplified using primers D1 (5’-GCATATCAATAAGCGGAGGAAAAG-3’) and D2 (5’-GGTCCGTGTTTCAAGACGG-3’) (Kurtzman and Robnett, 1997). The resulting sequence (548 bp) was deposited with NCBI GeneBank under accession number MW127281. The fungus was confirmed as Colletotrichum circinans after conducting a BLAST search with the ITS sequence that reported a highest homology (99% similarity) with MH81329.1 (C. circinans). The speciation was further confirmed by amplifying regions of the TUB2, GAPDH, and ACT genes using primers given in Table S1 and sequences were also submitted to NCBI GeneBank under accession numbers MZ456033, MZ456032 and MZ456031, respectively. The subsequent BLAST results for these three additional gene regions were consistent with the results of the ITS region and fungus was identified as C. circinans. The isolated pathogen was tested for its pathogenicity on onion plants (Allium fistulosum L. var. giganteum Makino). A conidial suspension 30 ml (5 × 105 conidia/ml) was mixed with 1 kg sterilized potted soil in 15 cm diameter plastic pots. Un-inoculated, sterilized soil was used as control. Three green onion plants per pot were planted (Figure S2). The experiment was repeated three times with 15 replications in each experiment. Plants were maintained for 120 days under greenhouse conditions and were monitored for the development of anthracnose symptoms. Symptoms recorded previously on onion plants in field (i.e. necrosis, sunken oval lesions and dark spots) were observed after 30 days on plants grown in inoculated soil while control plants remained asymptomatic (Figure S1). Three samples from symptomatic tissues of each plant were used for re-isolation of the pathogen on PDA, as described above. Cultures grown on PDA were confirmed both on a morphological and molecular basis as Colletotrichum circinans.These morphological, molecular, and pathogenicity tests of the isolated fungus confirm that the anthracnose symptoms observed on onion in Gansu Province, Beijing, China was caused by Colletotrichum circinans. Six different Colletotrichum spp. have been reported to cause diseases on onion worldwide (Rodriguez et al. 2012). C. circinans, which causes smudge, is an occasional onion pathogen was previously recorded as C. dematium (Pers.) Grove f. circinans Arx, which is specific to Allium spp. (von Arx 1970; von Arx 1981). However, Sutton (1992) described C. circinans as a distinct species from C. dematium. The fungus causes smudge or leaf spot of Allium spp. (Farr et al. 1989) and has been reported from Korea, Japan, Argentina, India, the UK and most other regions of the world (Cho & Shin 2004; Kiehr et al. 2012). Smudge may be a disease of concern post-harvest as fungal growth compromises the onion scales and bulb (Walker 1921). In China, this is the first report of C. circinans causing anthracnose in Allium fistulosum L. var. giganteum Makino in Gansu Province.