Phoma destructiva causing blight of tomato plants: a new fungal threat for tomato plantations in Brazil?
Solanum lycopersicum is among the most important crops in Brazil. This crop is affected by a large range of fungal diseases that are recognized as major limitations for tomato production. Recently, plants grown in a greenhouse in Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, were found to bear severe blight symptoms. A pycnidial coelomycete was repeatedly found in association with necrotic tissues. The fungus had its morphology recognized as equivalent to that of Phoma and related genera. A phylogenetic analysis based on nrDNA (ITS) and partial β-tubulin (TUB) sequences led to the conclusion that the fungus involved was Phoma destructiva. Pathogenicity tests showed that, after 5 days, blight symptoms developed on leaves, flowers and stems of plants belonging to thirteen different tomato varieties tested. This fungal species is mostly known for causing post-harvest tomato rot, which is only regarded as a secondary disease in Brazil. This is in disagreement with the observations made in this work. Here, the disease symptoms caused by the fungus were very severe, fully justifying the scientific name of the pathogen. Under favorable environmental conditions, aggressive strains of P. destructiva, such as the one isolated in this study, may become significant threats to tomato plantations in Brazil.
KeywordsSolanum lycopersicum Coelomycetes Didymellaceae Pycnidial fungi Phylogeny Solanaceae
The authors wish to thank Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais - FAPEMIG, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - CNPq and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - CAPES for financial support of the work.
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