Potential role of Fusarium spp. in grapevine decline
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Copyright (c) 2023 José Ramón ÚRBEZ-TORRES, Julie BOULÉ, Jared HRYCAN, Daniel T. O'GORMAN
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Despite studies associating Fusarium spp. with grapevine decline since late 1970s, no consensus has been reached regarding the roles these fungi play in grapevine health. Recent studies in British Columbia, Canada, assessed prevalence of grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) in young and mature vineyards, and the presence of GTD fungi in ready-to-plant nursery material sold in Canada. This study characterized the Fusarium spp. isolated from grapevines in BC by sequencing part of the translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1) gene, and carried out pathogenicity studies to determine whether Fusarium plays a role in grapevine decline. Fusarium spp. were isolated from 9.8% of samples collected from young vines (≤ 8-year-old), and 7.3% from mature vines (> 8-year-old), showing decline symptoms in commercial vineyards. Fusarium was also isolated from 43.9% of ready-to-plant dormant grapevines analyzed from four nurseries. Fusarium incidence varied between plants within the same nursery and between plants from the different nurseries. DNA sequences of TEF1 allowed identification of Fusarium oxysporum, F. proliferatum, F. ramigenum, and a Fusarium sp. Pathogenicity studies were conducted in 1-year-old dormant rooted ‘Chardonnay’ plants grafted onto ‘3309C’ rootstock, and treatments included: i) whole plant, ii) trimming of roots, iii) cut at rootstock basal ends, and iv) trimming of roots plus cut at rootstock basal ends. Plants were inoculated using standardized methods, and were then planted in a greenhouse. Fusarium was compared with Dactylonectria macrodidyma, D. pauciseptata and Ilyonectria liriodendri used as positive controls. The Fusarium spp. caused necroses in rootstock roots and basal ends that were similar to those caused by black-foot fungi. Fusarium spp. and black-foot fungi reduced root and shoot dry weights when compared with non-inoculated controls, but no statistically significant differences were recorded for most treatments. This study is the first in Canada to identify Fusarium spp. from grapevines. Though Fusarium was common in these grapevines, pathogenicity tests suggest that the identified Fusarium spp. were weakly pathogenic to ‘3309C’ rootstock grapevines.
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