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First Report of Phytophthora nicotianae and P. citricola Associated with English Walnut Decline in Europe

Belisario, A., Maccaroni, M., Vettraino, A.M., Vannini, A.
Plant disease 2003 v.87 no.3 pp. 315
Juglans regia, Phytophthora cactorum, Phytophthora citricola, Phytophthora nicotianae, Rhododendron, agar, ampicillin, baiting, benomyl, chlamydospores, death, decline, fruit growing, hymexazol, inoculum, internal transcribed spacers, leaves, malt extract, millets, mycelium, necrosis, orchards, pathogenicity, pathogens, plant pathology, restriction fragment length polymorphism, ribosomal DNA, rifampicin, roots, seedlings, seeds, selective media, soil, soil sampling, sporangia, sporulation, trees, walnuts, Italy, United States
English (Persian) walnut (Juglans regia), among the most widely cultivated species of Juglans worldwide, is cultivated primarily for fruit production but also for timber. In the last 10 years, walnut decline causing leaf yellowing, sparse foliage, overall decline, and plant death has increased in Italian commercial orchards. In Italy, Phytophthora cactorum, P. cambivora, P. cinnamomi, and P. cryptogea are associated with this disease (1,4). Over the last 5 years, P. cinnamomi was the most widely isolated and destructive species (1). Recently, a different species of Phytophthora was isolated from diseased roots and soil from around lateral roots of 10 declining trees in two orchards in the Veneto Region of northern Italy. Another species of Phytophthora was isolated consistently from rotted roots of declining walnut trees in two orchards in the Campania Region of southern Italy. Phytophthora spp. were isolated directly from plant material or Rhododendron spp. leaf baiting on soil samples with PARBhy selective medium (10 mg of pimaricin, 250 mg of ampicillin [sodium salt], 10 mg of rifampicin, 50 mg of hymexazol, 15 mg of benomyl, 15 g of malt extract, 20 g of agar in 1,000 ml of H(2)O). Two species of Phytophthora were identified based on morphological and cultural characteristics (2). The species from trees in the Veneto Region was identified as P. nicotianae. All isolates produced papillate, spherical to obturbinate, occasionally caducous sporangia with short pedicels, terminal and intercalary chlamydospores, and were mating type A2. The species isolated from trees in the Campania Region was identified as P.citricola. Isolates were homothallic, produced semipapillate, persistent, obclavate to obpyriform sporangia, occasionally with two apices, and antheridia paragynous. Identifications were confirmed by comparing restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns of the internal transcribed spacer region of rDNA with those obtained from previously identified species of Phytophthora. Pathogenicity of two isolates each of P. citricola and P. nicotianae was tested on 2-year-old potted walnut seedlings. Inocula were prepared by inoculating sterilized millet seeds moistened with V8 broth with plugs of mycelium and incubated for 4 weeks at 20°C in the dark. Infested seeds were added to potting soil at a rate of 3% (wt/vol). One day later, pots were flooded for 48 h to promote sporulation. Ten noninoculated seedlings were used as the control. Symptoms were assessed 2 months after inoculation. Seedlings inoculated with P. nicotianae developed necrosis of feeder and lateral roots, but only limited infection of taproots. Seedlings inoculated with P. citricola developed necroses at the insertion points of lateral roots. All four isolates produced visible damage to lateral roots on inoculated plants. P. nicotianae and P. citricola were reisolated from respectively infected roots. Results from these inoculations confirmed P. nicotianae and P. citricola as root pathogens of English walnut. Both species were associated with walnut decline as reported in the United States (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. nicotianae and P. citricola on J. regia in Europe.