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Sphaceloma coryli: A Reemerging Pathogen Causing Heavy Losses on Hazelnut in Southern Italy

Minutolo, M., Nanni, B., Scala, F., Alioto, D.
Plant disease 2016 v.100 no.3 pp. 548-554
Sphaceloma, asci, ascospores, bracts, crop losses, fungi, fungicides, germination, hazelnuts, in vitro studies, internal transcribed spacers, leaves, mycelium, necrosis, overwintering, pathogens, phylogeny, teleomorphs, temperature, tissues, trees, France, Italy
In 2013 to 2014, a disease causing severe crop losses was observed in several growing areas of the Campania region in southern Italy. Disease symptoms consisted of necrotic spots on leaves, bracts, and shells along with vein necrosis. Nuts were necrotic or aborted and symptomatic fruit dropped prematurely. A fungus was consistently isolated from symptomatic tissues and morphologically identified as Sphaceloma coryli. The fungus was first reported in France and Italy (Campania) over 30 years ago and was not subsequently documented until 2006 in the Latium region of Italy. When artificially inoculated on healthy hazelnut plants, disease symptoms were reproduced. The teleomorph of S. coryli was recorded for the first time on overwintering tissues of hazelnut trees. It was also induced in vitro. The morphology of asci and ascospores together with phylogenetic analysis based on internal transcribed spacer sequences indicated that the teleomorph is an undescribed species within the genus Elsinoë for which the name of Elsinoë coryli is proposed. Optimum temperatures for ascospore and conidium germination and mycelium growth were determined in vitro. The inhibition effect of some commercial fungicides on S. coryli was also evaluated in vitro.