Pestalotiopsis isolates obtained from the foliage, stem-base and roots of hardy ornamentals grown on commercial nurseries in the UK were identified and characterised according to pathogenicity and colony morphology. All 18 isolates were identified as Pestalotiopsis sydowiana on the basis of conidia morphology, and confirmation of identification was made by experts at CABI Bioscience. Isolates were pathogenic on the host from which originally isolated. Typical symptoms included foliar browning of foliage and stems, and the presence of black or greenish-black acervuli on diseased tissue. Isolates were not host specific and infected other species of hardy ornamentals. Three colony types on potato dextrose agar were distinguished according to colour and production of acervuli by individual isolates.
Three selected isolates of P. sydowiana were characterised by examining the effects of growth media, temperature, pH, and water potential on hyphal extension. Isolates grew well on commonly used growth media, including PDA, Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA), V8 juice agar (V8), malt extract agar (MEA) and Czapek Dox agar (CDA). The optimum temperature for growth on PDA was in the range 20–25°C, with little or no growth occurring below 5°C or above 30°C. Hyphal extension occurred over a pH range between 2.6–8.6, with optimum values occurring at pH 5.5. In general, decreases in osmotic and matric potential caused a reduction in growth. Hyphal extension on media adjusted osmotically as NaCl ceased between −9.9 and −10.5 MPa. Isolates were more tolerant of osmotic than matric potential, with no growth occurring at −6.5 MPa on media adjusted with polyethylene glycol.
Pestalotiopsis sydowianamorphology pathogenicity ericaceous plants conifers temperature pH water potential