Migheli, Quirico and Balmas, Virgilio and Muresu, Maria Maddalena and Otgianu, Luisa and Fresu, B. (2005) First report of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis causing Fusarium wilt on Phoenix canariensis in Sardinia, Italy. Plant Disease, Vol. 89 (7), p. 773. ISSN 0191-2917. Article.
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During the summer of 2004, severe symptoms of wilt were observed on 25-year-old plants of Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis Hort. ex Chabaud) located at the seafront of Poetto Beach in the metropolitan area of Cagliari, southern Sardinia, Italy. Symptoms consisted of one-sided leaflet dieback of fronds, necrotic and brown streaking on the lower rachis base of older leaves, and necrosis of vascular bundles. Of 300 palms, there were 90 plants that were symptomatic and at least 4 were dead. Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. emend. Snyder & Hansen has been consistently isolated from surface-sterilized petioles of symptomatic leaves sampled from affected palms. The opportunistic pathogen Gliocladium vermoesenii (Biourge) Thom was frequently associated with F. oxysporum in diseased samples, confirming previous reports of a disease complex between these two fungi. Five F. oxysporum isolates collected from different symptomatic plants were analyzed with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay with the F. oxysporum f. sp. canariensis-specific primers HK66 + HK67. The thermocycling schedule was as follows: initial denaturation at 94°C for 5 min, 35 cycles each of 1 min at 94°C, 1 min at 62°C, 1 min and 30 s at 72°C, followed by a final extension at 72°C for 5 min. A 567-bp PCR product of the expected size was obtained from all tested F. oxysporum isolates, allowing their identification as F. oxysporum f. sp. canariensis. This disease was previously reported from other Italian regions (Sicily, Marche, and Liguria), but its presence in Sardinia should be considered carefully since it represents a serious threat to ornamental palms, which are abundant all over the island. The source of this outbreak may be related to the importation of seedlings from areas where F. oxysporum f. sp. canariensis is widely established.
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