Citrus virus A (CiVA), a novel negative-sense single-stranded RNA virus assigned to the species Coguvirus eburi in the genus Coguvirus, was detected in South Africa with the use of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) after its initial discovery in Italy. CiVA is closely related to citrus concave gum-associated virus (CCGaV), recently assigned to the species Citrus coguvirus. Disease association with CiVA is however incomplete. CiVA was detected in grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.), sweet orange (C. sinensis (L.) Osb.) and clementine (C. reticulata Blanco) in South Africa and a survey to determine the distribution, symptom association and genetic diversity was conducted in three provinces and seven citrus production regions. The virus was detected in ‘Delta’ Valencia trees in six citrus production regions and a fruit rind symptom was often observed on CiVA-positive trees. Additionally, grapefruit showing symptoms of citrus impietratura disease were positive for CiVA. This virus was primarily detected in older orchards that were established prior to the application of shoot tip grafting for virus elimination in the South African Citrus Improvement Scheme. The three viral encoded genes of CiVA isolates from each cultivar and region were sequenced to investigate sequence diversity. Genetic differences were detected between the ‘Delta’ Valencia, grapefruit and clementine samples, with greater sequence variation observed with the nucleocapsid protein (NP) compared to the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and the movement protein (MP). A real-time detection assay, targeting the RdRp, was developed to simultaneously detect citrus infecting coguviruses, CiVA and CCGaV, using a dual priming reverse primer to improve PCR specificity.
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.
Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita Thunb.), which belongs to the family of Dioscorea, is widely naturalized throughout China, due to its high economic and medicinal value. Since 2019, water-soaked lesions were frequently observed in the underground tubers of Chinese yam located in Xinyang City, Henan Province. To identify the causal agent, ten pieces of tissue from the underground tubers with disease symptoms were collected. Those infected tissues (5×5 mm) were crushed in 500 μL sterilized water after surface sterilization and streaked onto Luria-Bertani agar plates. Pale-yellowish, rod-shaped, slimy single bacterial colonies with smooth margin were observed after 24 hours of incubation, and three bacterial colonies (named CY-1, CY-2 and CY-3) were randomly selected for further biochemical and molecular characterization. These bacteria were gram-negative with the cell length of 1.0 to 3.0 μm, width of 0.5 to 1.0 μm, and with peritrichous flagella. Subsequently, the bacteria were biochemically analyzed through BIOLOG (Hayward, CA) and identified as Pantoea agglomerans with 99% probability. Furthermore, the phylogenetic analysis results based on 16S rDNA, DNA gyrase subunit B (gyrB), and RNA polymerase sigma factor (rpoD) showed these three isolates were most closely related to P. agglomerans. The sequence of 16S rDNA, gyrB and rpoD of each strain was submitted to GenBank with the accession numbers MZ541065 MZ541066 and MZ541067 for 16S rDNA; MZ669846, MZ669847 and MZ669848 for gyrB; MZ669849, MZ669850 and MZ669851 for ropD. Pathogenicity test was performed to complete Koch’s postulates. Tubers of Chinese yam were wounded by sterile needle and inoculated with 500 μL 108 CFU/mL bacterial suspension. Sterilized water was used as a control. Five pots were inoculated for each isolate. Water-soaked lesions appeared after five days incubation at 25°C in a biochemical incubator and no lesions were observed on the control. Bacteria re-isolated from the lesions were similar in phenotypic and molecular characteristics to the original isolates. In brief, based on colony morphology, biochemical tests, characteristic sequence analysis, and pathogenicity verification, the pathogen responsible for the soft rot of Chinese yam in Henan Province was identified as P. agglomerans. In China, P. agglomerans has been reported to associate with bacterial soft rot on Chinese cabbage (Guo et al., 2020). To our knowledge, this work is the first report of bacterial rot caused by P. agglomerans on Chinese yam.
In August 2020, ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizomes (cv. Mianjiang) showing soft rot symptoms were observed in a field in Tayang Village, Fengrun District, Tangshan, Hebei Province (North China). The disease incidence in that field (15 ha in size) was more than 20%. Symptomatic rhizomes (brown and water-soaked) were surface-sterilized in 75% ethanol for 60 sec and then three successive rinses with sterile distilled water. Rhizomes were cut into pieces ca. 0.5 cm in length, and then were soaked in 500 µl 0.9% saline for 20 min. Aliquots (20 μl) of three tenfold dilutions of the tissue specimen soaking solution were plated onto the lysogeny broth (LB) medium. And LB plates were incubated at 28°C for 24 h. Five single colonies were picked from each LB plate and restreaked three times for purity. Endophytic bacteria were also isolated from asymptomatic rhizomes as control. The bacterial gDNA was extracted using the EasyPure Bacteria Genomic DNA Kit (TransGen Biotech, Beijing, China). The 16S rDNA region was amplified by PCR using the universal primer pair 27F/1492R (Weisburg et al. 1991) and sequenced. The results of BLASTN against NCBI nr of the 16S rDNA amplicons suggested that the most isolates (8/10) obtained from the rotten rhizomes belonged to the genus Pectobacterium, and few isolates (2/10) were Enterobacter spp.. Only Enterobacter spp. were isolated from asymptomatic rhizomes. Since all Pectobacterium isolates showed identical 16S rDNA sequence, thus, only two isolates were selected for further analysis. Pectobacterium isolates TS20HJ1 and TS20HJ2 (MZ853520, MZ853521) represent isolates from two plant individuals. To determine the species of the rhizome rot Pectobacterium isolates, multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) was performed with five housekeeping genes acnA, icdA, mdh, proA and rpoS (MZ994717-MZ994726) (Ma et al. 2007; Waleron et al. 2008), and a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed using RAxML v8.2.12 (github.com/stamatak/standard-RAxML). No sequence variation was observed at any MLSA locus between the two isolates. The result of phylogenetic analysis showed that the ginger rhizome isolates clustered with P. brasiliense type strain IBSBF1692T (Duarte et al. 2004; Nabhan et al. 2012). Ginger seedlings (cv. Mianjiang) were inoculated with the isolate TS20HJ1 by injecting 10 µl of bacterial suspensions (108 CFU·mL-1) into the rhizomes, or injected with 10 µl of 0.9% saline solution as control. The seedlings were grown at 28°C and 50% relative humidity. Ten days after inoculation, only the bacteria-inoculated rhizomes showed diseased symptoms resembling to those observed in the field. Bacterial colonies were obtained from the infected rhizomes and were identified with MLSA gene sequencing, fulfilling Koch’s postulates. P. brasiliense causes soft rot of a wide range of economically important crops (Oulghazi et al. 2021). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. brasiliense causing rhizome rot of ginger in China. The rhizome rot caused 20-25% yield loss on average in Tangshan region in 2020, which poses a significant threat to the local ginger farming. Further research on epidemiology and disease management options is needed.
Eucalyptus species are widely planted in the tropics and subtropics, and eucalyptus is among the most important cash crop in Southern China. One of the most important diseases on eucalyptus is Ceratocystis wilt, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata Ellis & Halst., and the genus name Chalaropsis has been proposed for anamorphs of Ceratocystis species (de Beer et al. 2014). During April 2018, severely infected Eucalyptus robusta trees were observed in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Symptomatic trees initially exhibited yellowing and wilting of foliage on individual branches, then spread to the whole canopy, sometimes followed by death of the whole tree. Reddish-brown to dark-brown discoloration in the woody xylem of affected trees, sometimes a grayish white layer of fungal growth may be seen. The disease was observed on 16% of trees surveyed. The base of trunks with typical symptoms were collected, then the discolored xylem tissues were surface disinfected with 75% ethanol for 30 s and 0.1% mercuric chloride (HgCl2) solution for 2 min, rinsed three times with sterile distilled water, plated onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium, and incubated at 25°C. After 6 days, a fungus was consistently observed growing from the tissue. Three isolates were obtained. In culture, colonies reaching 54mm diam within 15 days, mycelium initially white, then becoming celadon. Endoconidia unicellular, smooth, cylindrical, straight, biguttulate, 11.21 - 32.26 × 4.12 - 5.25 μm. Phialides produced on short, septate, aerial hyphae, lageniform and chain of phialoconidia (3.62 - 5.89 × 31.39 - 65.76 μm) were also observed. Chlamydospores (11.45 - 14.26 × 10.06 - 12.22 μm) were single, dark, thick-walled. Morphological characteristics of the fungus were consistent with the description of Chalaropsis thielavioides (Paulin-Mahady et al. 2002). The two of three isolates were used for molecular identification and genomic DNA was extracted from isolates (EKY2-2-1, EKY2-2-2) using the chelex-100 method (Xu et al. 2020). The ITS region of rDNA was sequenced using the procedures of Thorpe et al. (2005). Analysis of ITS sequence data (GenBank accessions MW242701, MW242702) showed that the isolates were 99% - 100% homologous to isolates of C. thielavioides from Hevea rubber, Monstera deliciosa L. and ants in China and Rosa sp. in Australia (GenBank accessions KT963172, KJ511482, KT963173 and KX954598) by BLAST analysis. Neighbor-joining (NJ) phylogenetic analysis were performed using MEGA 6.06 based on ITS sequences (Fig 1), the evolutionary distances were computed using the Maximum Composite Likelihood method. Analyses showed that both isolates (EKY2-2-1, EKY2-2-2) located on the same clade with all C. thielavioides, and clustered with the C. thielavioides strains with high bootstrap support (97% - 100%). Therefore, the fungus was identified as C. thielavioides based on morphology and molecular evidences. Pathogenicity of C. thielavioides was tested by inoculation of six one-year-old pot grown Eucalyptus citriodora seedlings. The sterilized soil of six seedlings was inoculated by drenching with 20 ml spore suspension (2.0 × 106 spores / ml). Control plants were inoculated with 20 ml of sterile distilled water. The seedlings were kept in a controlled greenhouse at 25°C and watered weekly. After one month incubation, all the isolates produced wilt symptoms, whereas control trees showed no symptoms. The original fungus was successfully re-isolated from inoculated trees and identified as C. thielavioides according to the methods described above, and no fungal growth was observed in the controls, thus satisfying Koch's postulates. Although wilt and canker caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata on eucalyptus have been previously reported in Brazil, Uruguay, Uganda, China and Pakistan (Ferreira et al. 1999; Li et al. 2014; Alam et al. 2017), eucalyptus wilt caused by C. thielavioides has not been reported anywhere. Also, wilt of rubber tree and postharvest rot on carrot caused by C. thielavioides have been reported (Li et al. 2021; Xu et al. 2020). To our knowledge, this is the first report of eucalyptus wilt caused by C. thielavioides in China.
Wine grapes are an important agricultural commodity in the Pacific Northwest where grape powdery mildew (GPM) is one of the main disease problems. The efficacy of different sulfur concentrations and different output volumes from an air blast sprayer retrofitted with the Intelligent Spray System (ISS) were evaluated for the management of GPM. The ISS consists of a LiDAR sensor, Doppler speed sensor, embedded computer, flow controller, and individual pulse-width-modulation solenoid valves at each nozzle. GPM cluster severity ranged from 55% to 75% across all trials in the study when using the ISS at its default spray rate of 62.5 ml m-3 and micronized sulfur at 6 g L-1, which was significantly higher than all other fungicide treatments, but lower than non-treated controls. Similarly, leaf incidence values were highest on non-treated vines, followed by micronized sulfur at 6 g L-1 applied at 62.5 ml m-3 , with all other fungicide treatments being significantly lower in all trials. Using the ISS at the 62.5 ml m-3 rate and a rotation of locally systemic fungicides resulted in the lowest observed GPM leaf incidence, and average cluster severity of 11% in both 2019 and 2020, the lowest cluster severity of all fungicide treatments tested. GPM control using the ISS and micronized sulfur was equivalent to a constant-rate air blast treatment at 6 g L-1 when the spray rate of the ISS was increased to 125ml m-3, or if the concentration of sulfur was increased to 24 g L-1. In those cases, the amount of sulfur applied to vines was at or above the minimum label rate from bloom until the end of the season, or the entire season, respectively. This study has shown that sufficient disease control cannot always be expected when mixing pesticides at the same rate as would be used for a constant-rate sprayer in a variable rate sprayer, especially when using contact fungicides like sulfur . With appropriate adjustments, the variable-rate ISS can be a useful tool to reduce pesticide quantities, water required for mixing, and as a result labor, as fewer trips to refill for a given spray event are required.
Pectobacterium spp. and Dickeya spp. cause blackleg and soft rot on potato worldwide (Charkowski, 2018). Potato plants (cv. Favorita or Jizhang 8#) with blackleg symptoms (vascular browning of crown stems, Fig. S1) were observed in the field in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province in 2018, and in Ningde, Fujian Province in 2019, in China. The disease incidence was around 50% and 10% in Zhangjiakou (5 ha) and Ningde (4 ha), respectively. Diseased plants (3 from each site) were collected to isolate the pathogen. Blackleg symptomatic stems were soaked in 75% ethanol for 2 min, rinsed and ground in sterile distilled water. Serial tenfold dilutions of the above solution were plated onto the crystal violet pectate agar (CVP) plate (Ge et al., 2018). Two to 3 days after incubation at 28°C, 4 bacterial colonies in total which digested pectin from the media and developed pit on CVP plates were purified and sequenced for identification using the universal 16S rRNA gene primer set 27F/1492R (Monciardini et al., 2002). Two colony sequences that showed more than 99% sequence identity to Pectobacterium punjabense type strain SS95 (MH249622) were submitted to the GenBank ( accession numbers: OK510280, MT242589). Additionally, six housekeeping genes proA (OK546205, OK546199), gyrA (OK546206, OK546200), icdA (OK546207, OK546201), mdh (OK546208, OK546202), gapA (OK546209, OK546203), and rpoS (OK546210, OK546204) of these two isolates were amplified and sequenced (Ma et al., 2007, Waleron et al., 2008). All strains show 99% to 100% identity with MH249622T . Phylogenetic trees based on 16S rRNA gene sequences (Fig. S2) and concatenated sequences of the housekeeping genes (Fig. S3) of the 2 isolates were constructed using MEGA 6.0 software (Tamura et al., 2013). Koch’s postulate was performed on potato seedlings and potato tubers (cv. Favorita) by injecting 100 μl bacterial suspension (105 CFU/ml) or sterile phosphate-buffered solution into the crown area of the stems or the tubers and kept at 100% humidity and 21°C for 1 day. Four days after inoculation, the infected area of the inoculated seedlings rotten and turned black, while the controls were symptomless (Fig. S4). Two days after inoculation, the infected tubers rotten and turned black, while the controls were symptomless (Fig. S4). Bacterial colonies were reisolated from these symptomatic tissues and identified using the same methods described above. Blackleg on potato plants or soft rot on potato has been reported to be caused by Pectobacterium atrosepticum, Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense, Pectobacterium parmentieri, Pectobacterium polaris in China (Zhao et al., 2018; Cao et al., 2021; Wang et al., 2021). To our knowledge, this is the first report of blackleg/soft rot of potato caused by Pectobacterium punjabense in China. We believe that this report will draw attention to the management of this pathogen in China.
Root rot is a serious disease in plantations of A. sinensis, severely affecting yield and quality and threatening sustainable production. Fusarium isolates (n=32) were obtained from field samples of root rot tissue, leaves and infected soil. Isolates were identified by comparing the sequences of their internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and translation elongation factor 1-ɑ (TEF-1ɑ) to sequences of known species in the NCBI-database. These Fusarium isolates include F. tricinctum (43.75%), F. equiseti (31.25%), F. solani (9.37%), F. oxysporum (6.25%), F. acuminatum (6.25%), and F. incarnatum (3.12%). For pathogenicity testing under greenhouse conditions, seven isolates were selected based on a phylogenetic analysis, including four strains of F. tricinctum and one strain each of F. solani, F. oxysporum, and F. acuminatum. The seven isolates were all pathogenic but differed in their ability to infect: the four F. tricinctum strains were capable pathogens causing root rot in A. sinensis at 100% incidence and the highly aggressive. Furthermore, the symptoms of root rot induced by those seven isolates were consistent with typical root rot cases in the field, but their disease severity varied. Observed histopathological preparations of F. tricinctum-infected seedlings and tissue-slides results showed this fungal species can penetrate epidermal cells and colonize the cortical cells where it induces necrosis and severe plasmolysis. Plate confrontation experiments showed that isolated rhizosphere bacteria inhibited the Fusarium pathogens that cause root rot in A. sinensis. Our results provide timely information for informing the use of biocontrol agents for suppression of root rot disease.
Twenty-five almond cultivars were assessed for susceptibility to Diaporthe amygdali, causal agent of twig canker and shoot blight disease. In laboratory experiments, growing twigs were inoculated with four D. amygdali isolates. Moreover, growing shoots of almond cultivars grafted onto INRA ‘GF-677’ rootstock were used in four-year field inoculations with one D. amygdali isolate. In both type of experiments, inoculum consisted of agar plugs with mycelium, which were inserted underneath the bark and the lesion lengths caused by the fungus were measured. Necrotic lesions were observed in the inoculated almond cultivars both in laboratory and field tests, confirming the susceptibility of all the evaluated cultivars to all the inoculated isolates of D. amygdali. Cultivars were grouped as susceptible or very susceptible according to a cluster analysis. The relationship between some agronomic traits and cultivar susceptibility was also investigated. Blooming and ripening times were found relevant variables to explain cultivars performance related to D. amygdali susceptibility. Late and very late blooming, and early and medium ripening cultivars were highly susceptible to D. amygdali. Our results may provide valuable information that could assist in ongoing breeding programs of this crop and additionally in the selection of cultivars for new almond plantations.