Pathogenic variation of Alternaria species associated with leaf blotch and fruit spot of apple in Australia

Abstract

Four Alternaria species groups (A. longipes, A. arborescens, A. alternata/A. tenuissima and A. tenuissima/A. mali) are associated with leaf blotch and fruit spot of apple in Australia. There is no information on the variability of pathogenicity among the species and isolates within each species causing leaf blotch or fruit spot. We used a detached leaf assay and an in planta fruit inoculation assay to determine the pathogenicity and virulence of the four Alternaria species. Our results showed that isolates within the same species were not specific to either leaf or fruit tissue and showed great variability in pathogenicity and virulence, indicating cross-pathogenicity, which may be isolate dependent rather than species dependent. Generally, virulence of A. tenuissima and A. alternata isolates on leaf and fruit was higher than other species. Isolates of all species groups were pathogenic on leaves of different cultivars, but pathogenicity on fruit of different cultivars varied among isolates and species. Implications of our findings on prevalence of the diseases in different apple-producing regions in Australia and the development of targeted disease management of the diseases are discussed.

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Acknowledgement

This work was funded by the Horticulture Australia Limited (Project AP06007) with levies from Australian apple and pear growers. The authors would like to thank Mr. Allan McWaters and Dr. Shane Dullahide for their assistance at the DAFF Applethorpe Research Station with providing potted trees and use of the orchards for the inoculation trials.

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Correspondence to Dalphy O. C. Harteveld.

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Harteveld, D.O.C., Akinsanmi, O.A. & Drenth, A. Pathogenic variation of Alternaria species associated with leaf blotch and fruit spot of apple in Australia. Eur J Plant Pathol 139, 789–799 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-014-0433-6

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Keywords

  • Apple
  • Alternaria
  • Leaf blotch
  • Fruit spot
  • Pathogenicity
  • Aggressiveness