THE ROLE OF A THERMOPHILIC FUNGUS IN THE ROOT ROT / VINE DECLINE DISEASE OF MUSKMELON IN TEXAS.

in HortScience

A disease of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) characterized by a vine decline and a cortical root rot was first observed in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in 1986. In 1990, isolations from diseased plants collected from four commercial production fields yielded the fungus Monosporascus cannonballus. Pathogenicity tests with eight isolates confirmed Koch's postulates; however, there were differences in aggressiveness observed among isolates. M. cannonballus is an ascomycete fungus that typically produces only one (rarely two), round, jet-black ascospore per ascus. There is no known asexual stage. Temperature optimum of one isolate was 35 C. The optimum pH for growth was 6-7, but it grew well up to pH 9. M. cannonballus was first reported on muskmelon in 1970 from Arizona and recently was found in Japan under glass house culture. The presence of this fungus in Texas marks only the third report of this species worldwide, although a similar species (M. eutypoides) is the cause of a collapse of melon plants in Israel.

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