A new emergency for the Mediterranean fruit trees: detection and characterization of a fungal disease on fig (Ficus carica L.) in Sicily
A new decline syndrome in fig adult plants has been observed in Sicily (Italy) since 2013. The disease affects all the above-ground parts of the plant starting from the base of the trunk. Symptoms consist of a rapid cortical decay and fall off, leaf necrosis and twig dieback. The infection leads to quick plant death within the same season in which the first symptoms are observed. Moreover, the Coleoptera scolitid Hypocryphalus scabricollis, Xyleborus bispinatus, and Hypoborus ficus were found on the necrotic organs. Many ambrosia beetles live in symbiosis with pathogenic fungi and contribute to their dissemination in forest trees and other fruit tree crops. In order to study and clarify if the cause of the symptoms is due to the insects' infestation or the fungal colonization, a research was implemented. Samples of leaves and branches from infected plants were separately collected and, macroscopic and microscopic evaluations were performed, resulting in the isolation of Alternaria, Botryosphaeria and Fusarium genera. In particular, from trunk sections different strains of Fusarium solani and Fusarium lateritium were isolated and characterized by sequencing of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions. Koch's postulates were performed to demonstrate the relationship between the fungi and the disease.
Di Silvestro, S., Strano, M.C., Ferlito, F., Torrisi, B., Allegra, M., Neri, D., Lodolini, E.M. and Bella, S. (2021). A new emergency for the Mediterranean fruit trees: detection and characterization of a fungal disease on fig (Ficus carica L.) in Sicily. Acta Hortic. 1310, 267-274
neglected, decline syndrome, Fusarium spp., Coleoptera scolitid, Italy