Occurrence fungi causing black foot on young grapevines and nursery rootstock plants in Italy
Summary. Young grapevine plants with decline and wood necrosis symptoms were collected from vineyards and nurseries in the Apulia and Molise regions, Italy, from 2013 to 2015. Isolations of fungi were prepared from 45 diseased grapevine plants, and the cultures were identified. Several species commonly associated with Petri disease, Botryosphaeria dieback, and black foot disease were isolated. A detailed study was carried out, and 182 isolates resembling Cylindrocarpon-like asexual forms were identified through morphological characterisation and DNA analysis of internal transcribed spacer regions 1 and 2 of the rRNA gene and the partial β-tubulin gene. Dactylonectria torrensensis and Ilyonectria liriodendri were identified based on morphological features and the partial histone 3 gene, so these fungi can be defined as the causal agents of black foot on grapevine for the first time in Italy. Thelonectria blackeriella is also described as a new species, through morphological characterisation and multigenic analysis using sequence data for five loci (large subunit RNA, internal transcribed spacers, β-tubulin, actin, RNA polymerase II subunit 1). This new species was associated with black foot symptoms according to preliminary pathogenicity tests, with representative isolates of each of the three species. Pathogenicity tests showed that these species can cause black streaking in the wood of 1-year-old grapevine rootstock shoots. The identification of D. torresensis, I. liriodendri and T. blackeriella from young grapevine plants and rooted rootstock highlights the importance of black foot disease in Italy, which has previously been overlooked.
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