JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cryptic Diversity, Molecular Systematics and Pathogenicity of Pestalotiopsis and Allied Genera Causing Grey Blight Disease of Tea in Taiwan, with Description of a New Species of Pseudopestalotiopsis

Ichen Tsai, Chia-Lin Chung, Shiou-Ruei Lin, Ting-Hsuan Hung, Tang-Long Shen, Chih-Yi Hu, Wael N Hozzein, Hiran Anjana Ariyawansa
Plant Disease 2020 July 28
32720884
Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze, commonly known as tea, is widely cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical areas. Tea is mainly manufactured using young shoots of tea plants. Therefore, it is essential to control foliar diseases. Grey blight disease is caused by Pestalotiopsis-like taxa and is known as one of the most destructive tea diseases. Although several studies have provided the groundwork for the fungal diseases associated with C. sinensis in Taiwan, grey blight disease has not been characterised based on diversity, molecular systematics, or pathogenicity. The goal of this study was to identify and characterise the causative agents of tea grey blight disease. A total of 98 Pestalotiopsis-like isolates associated with symptomatic leaves of C. sinensis from major tea fields in Taiwan were investigated. Based on phylogenies of single and concatenated DNA sequences (ITS, tub2, tef1-α) together with morphology, we resolved most of the Pestalotiopsis-like species in this study. The study revealed seven well-classified taxa and seven tentative clades in three genera, i.e., Pestalotiopsis, Pseudopestalotiopsis, and Neopestalotiopsis. One novel species, Ps. annellata, was introduced. Five new records - Ps. chinensis, Ps. camelliae-sinensis, P. camelliae, P. yanglingensis and P. trachicarpicola - were introduced for the first time in Taiwan. Ps. chinensis was the taxon most frequently isolated from C. sinensis in this study. Further, results of pathogenicity assessments exhibited that, with wound inoculation, all assayed isolates in this study were pathogenic on tea leaves. Ps. chinensis and Ps. camelliae-sinensis were identified as the major pathogens associated with grey blight disease of tea in Taiwan. This is the first study of the diversity, pathogenicity and characterisation of Pestalotiopsis-like fungi associated with tea grey blight disease in Taiwan.

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