Canker and Twig Dieback of Blueberry Caused by Pestalotiopsis spp. and a Truncatella sp. in Chile

Espinoza, J. G., Briceño, E. X., Keith, L. M., and Latorre, B. A. 2008. Canker and twig dieback of blueberry caused by Pestalotiopsis spp. and a Truncatella sp. in Chile. Plant Dis. 92:1407- 1414.

Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) has great economic importance in Chile, which currently has about 8,500 ha being cultivated. Recently, the presence of canker and dieback symptoms has been observed along the productive blueberry zone of Chile. Species of Pestalotiopsis and Truncatella were consistently isolated from diseased samples in 22 different locations. Therefore, the objec- tive of this study was to identify and characterize the species of Pestalotiopsis and Truncatellaassociated with canker and twig dieback symptoms on blueberry. Forty-nine isolates were ob- tained on acidified potato dextrose agar in 2006 and 2007. These isolates were identified as Pestalotiopsis clavispora, P. neglecta, and Truncatella (=Pestalotia) angustata on the basis of colony characteristics and conidial morphology. This identification was verified by internal tran- scribed spacer analysis of DNA. Isolates of P. clavispora, P. neglecta, and T. angustata were pathogenic on apple, kiwifruit, and blueberry fruit. Similarly, isolates of P. clavispora were pathogenic on detached blueberry twigs of cv. O’Neal. Additionally, three selected isolates of P. clavispora induced light-brown canker lesions, surrounded by a reddish halo, and shoot dieback after twig inoculations on 2-year-old twigs of blueberry cvs. O’Neal, Bluecrop, Brightwell, Brigitta, Duke, Elliot, and Misty. Among blueberry cultivars, Brightwell and O’Neal were the most susceptible and Bluecrop and Misty the least susceptible, while Elliot, Brigitta, and Duke were moderately susceptible to P. clavispora. These pathogens were isolated consistently from inoculated plants, confirming Koch’s postulates. P. clavispora was highly sensitive to fludioxonil and pyraclostrobin with a median effective concentration of 0.06 to 0.08 and 0.04 to 0.8 μg/ml, respectively. Therefore, the results of this study indicate that P. clavispora, P. neglecta, and T. angustata are primary pathogens that can cause canker lesions and dieback symptoms on blue- berry not previously described in Chile. However, these results do not exclude that other species of these genera or other plant-pathogenic fungi (e.g., Botryosphaeria, Pestalotia, and Phomopsis spp.) may eventually be involved in this syndrome of blueberry.

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