Linaldeddu, Benedetto Teodoro and Scanu, Bruno and Franceschini, Antonio (2010) First report of Diplodia scrobiculata causing canker and Branch dieback on strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) in Italy. Plant Disease, Vol. 94 (7), p. 919. ISSN 0191-2917. Article.
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Strawberry tree, family Ericaceae, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows in the Mediterranean Region. In spring 2009, a survey was conducted to study the fungi associated with canker and branch dieback of strawberry tree in a natural stand located on Caprera Island (41°12′N, 9°27′E), Italy. Fungal isolates obtained from live twigs and branches showing sunken necrotic bark lesions were identified as Diplodia scrobiculata J. de Wet, Slippers & M.J. Wingf. on the basis of morphological features. On potato dextrose agar (PDA) at 25°C, D. scrobiculata isolates developed white colonies with appressed mycelium that became dark gray after 4 to 6 days and formed pycnidia after 2 weeks on sterile Pinus radiata needles placed on the PDA surface. The conidia were dark brown with zero to three septa, clavate with truncate base, and measured 31.1 to 41.9 (36.8) × 11.3 to 16.3 (12.6) μm, with a length/width ratio of 2.9 ± 0.1 (mean ± standard error) (n = 50). Identity was confirmed by analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) of rDNA. BLAST searches in GenBank showed 100% similarity with reference sequences of D. scrobiculata (GenBank Nos. AY160200, EU220438, EU220444, and EU392283). The representative sequence of one D. scrobiculata strain (BL5), stored in the culture collection of the Department of Plant Protection at the University of Sassari, was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. GU722102). Pathogenicity of strain BL5 was tested by stem inoculation on eight 2-year-old strawberry tree seedlings maintained in a greenhouse at 18 to 26°C.
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