Incidence and etiology of postharvest fungal diseases of loquat fruit (Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. cv. ‘Algerie’) in Alacant province (Spain)
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‘Algerie’ is currently the most important loquat cultivar in Spain. The incidence and etiology of postharvest diseases affecting this cultivar were determined under local conditions. Latent and wound pathogens were evaluated for two consecutive seasons on commercially grown loquats from two orchards. Healthy loquats were either surface-disinfected or artificially wounded in the rind and placed in humid chambers at 20 °C for up to 5 weeks. Additionally, decay was assessed on commercially-handled loquats stored at 5 °C for up to 20 weeks. The most frequent disease was caused by Alternaria alternata, followed by Penicillium expansum. These two pathogens were present on fruit assessed for all types of infection. Moreover, decay caused by Botrytis cinerea was abundantly observed on both wounded and cold-stored fruit, while Colletotrichum gloeosporioides was frequently found on surface-disinfected fruit. Other pathogens that were observed causing latent infection to a lesser extent included Pestalotiopsis clavispora and Diplodia seriata. Common isolates were identified by macroscopic and microscopic morphology and/or DNA amplification and sequencing. Pathogenicity of selected isolates was demonstrated by fulfilling Koch’s postulates and disease development was assessed on artificially inoculated loquats stored at either 20 or 5 °C.
KeywordsEriobotrya japonica Postharvest diseases Latent infection Wound infection Cold storage Pathogenicity
This research was partially funded by Spanish ‘Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación’ (MICINN; project AGL 2004-05271/AGR) and the European Union (FEDER Program). The authors thank Mr. Esteve Soler and the Cooperativa Agrícola de Callosa d’en Sarrià S. Coop. V. for providing fruit. In memory of Dr. Miguel Angel del Río, for his guidance and friendship.
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