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First Report of Euphorbia larica Dieback Caused by Fusarium brachygibbosum in Oman

    Authors and Affiliations
    • I. H. Al-Mahmooli
    • Y. S. Al-Bahri
    • A. M. Al-Sadi
    • M. L. Deadman , Department of Crop Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 34, Al Khod 123, Sultanate of Oman

      Euphorbia larica Boiss. (Arabic = Isbaq) is a dominant and common component of the native desert flora of northern Oman. Traditional ethnobotanical uses have included use of the latex for treating camels with parasites. In February 2011, E. larica plants showing stem lesions up to several cm long and in many cases with stem dieback were collected from Al-Khoudh 50 km west of Muscat. The disease appeared widespread within the location where several dead specimens were also recorded, although the cause was unclear. Sections (5 mm) of five diseased branches taken from different plants and placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) in all cases yielded Fusarium-like colonies. Colonies recovered were initially white becoming rose to medium red in color with abundant aerial mycelium. Macroconidia were scarce and scattered (mean of 20 spores: 26.83 × 4.73 μm) with three to four septa per spore; microconidia were slightly curved, ovoid, and fusiform (mean of 20 spores: 11.64 × 4.03 μm) with zero to two septa per spore. Spherical chlamydospores (mean of 20 spores: 11.05 μm) were terminal and intercalary, single, and in chains. In vitro characters and spores measurements conformed to previously described features of Fusarium brachygibbosum Padwick (1). Mycelial plugs (5 mm) were taken from 7-day-old cultures of the fungus grown on 2.5% PDA and applied to a small incision (3 mm) on the stems of healthy E. larica grown in situ and protected with wet cotton and Parafilm. The residual agar, mycelium, cotton, and Parafilm were removed after 7 days and symptoms were recorded. Control stems were inoculated using PDA (5 mm) plugs alone and inoculations were repeated twice. Artificial inoculations resulted in dieback of all stems within 11 days and fungal colonies identical to initial isolations were recovered from artificially infected surface-sterilized stem pieces. Identification of F. brachygibbosum was confirmed by comparing sequences generated from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the ribosomal DNA (ITS1 and ITS4 primers) and the intron region of translation elongation factor alpha (EF1-α) (EF-1-986 and EF-728 primers). The ITS and EF1-α sequences were found to share 100% and 99% nucleotide similarity to previously published sequences of the ITS (HQ443206) and EF1-α (JQ429370) regions of F. brachygibbosum in GenBank. The accession number of ITS sequence of one isolate assigned to EMBL-Bank was HF562936. The EF sequence was assigned to EMBL-Bank accession (submission number Hx2000027017; number will be sent later). This pathogen has previously been reported on date palm (2) in Oman but, to our knowledge, this is the first report of this pathogen on E. larica.

      References: (1) A. M. Al-Sadi et al. Crop Prot. 37:1, 2012. (2) G. W. Padwick. Mycol. Pap. 12:11, 1945.