Pathogenicity, colony morphology and diversity of isolates of Guignardia citricarpa and G. mangiferae isolated from Citrus spp.
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In the present study, the pathogenicity of 36 isolates of Guignardia species isolated from asymptomatic ‘Tahiti’ acid lime fruit peels and leaves, ‘Pêra-Rio’ sweet orange leaves and fruit peel lesions, and a banana leaf were characterized. For pathogenicity testing, discs of citrus leaves colonized by Phyllosticta citricarpa under controlled laboratory conditions were kept in contact with the peels of fruit that were in susceptible states. In addition, pathogenicity was related to morphological characteristics of colonies on oatmeal (OA) and potato dextrose agar (PDA). This allowed the morphological differentiation between G. citricarpa and G. mangiferae. Polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) were also used to identify non-pathogenic isolates based on primers specific to G. citricarpa. A total of 14 pathogenic isolates were detected during pathogenicity tests. Five of these were obtained from leaf and fruit tissues of the ‘Tahiti’, which until this time had been considered resistant to the pathogen. Given that the G. citricarpa obtained from this host was pathogenic, it would be more appropriate to use the term insensitive rather than resistant to categorize G. citricarpa. A non-pathogenic isolate was obtained from lesions characteristic of citrus black spot (CBS), indicating that isolation of Guignardia spp. under these conditions does not necessarily imply isolation of pathogenic strains. This also applied to Guignardia spp. isolates from asymptomatic citrus tissues. Using fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (fAFLP) markers, typically pathogenic isolates were shown to be more closely related to one another than to the non-pathogenic forms, indicating that the non-pathogenic isolates display higher levels of genetic diversity.