Identification and characterization of Choanephora spp. causing Choanephora flower rot on Hibiscus syriacus
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Hibiscus syriacus, as a national flower of Korea, is most popularly used for ornamental purposes and includes numerous cultivars, and it is widely planted in temperate zones that feature hot summers. We investigated Choanephora flower rot on H. syriacus from 2012 to 2014 in Korea and Japan and confirmed Choanephora infection in several localities in both countries. Here, our objectives were to identify the main causal agent of Choanephora flower rot on H. syriacus and describe its morphological and molecular characteristics. We identified 44 out of 50 isolates as Choanephora cucurbitarum and the remainder as C. infundibulifera based on morphological characterization and phylogenetic analysis. The sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) of ribosomal DNA and the D1/D2 region of the large subunit (LSU) rDNA of examined isolates were compared with sequences obtained from GenBank, and the analysis of the results revealed 100 % identity with the corresponding sequences of C. cucurbitarum and C. infundibulifera strains. Classification of the Choanephora species performed here according to the key described by Kirk (1984) corresponded with the results of the phylogenetic analysis of this study. Through intraspecific and interspecific mating tests, the characteristics of zygospore were described in details. Pathogenicity tests using both species showed the same symptoms, causing blossom blight and soft rot on the flowers, which were identical to those observed in the field. All identified causal agents of Choanephora rot were indeed Choanephora species, where C. cucurbitarum was identified in the majority, while the others were in the minority of examined samples.
KeywordsChoanephora cucurbitarum C. infundibulifera Hibiscus syriacus Mating test Phylogenetic analysis
This work was financially supported by the National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR) of Ministry of Environment, Korea (1834-302, Graduate Program for the Undiscovered Taxa of Korea).
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