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Lusike Wasilwa, Teddy E. Morelock and James C. Correll

Three taxa, Colletotrichum orbiculare, the unconfirmed teleomorph of C. orbiculare (Glomerella cingulata var. orbiculare), and C. magna, have been reported to cause anthracnose of cucurbits. In a previous study, virulence, vegetative compatibility, and mtDNA RFLPs have been used to examine these taxa. The three taxa can be distinguished based on mtDNA RFLPs. Under controlled greenhouse inoculation tests, only isolates of C. orbiculare (CO) from cucurbit hosts were highly virulent on cucurbit foliage; isolates of G. cingulata (GC) and C. magna (CM), and CO from cocklebur hosts were weakly virulent or avirulent. The majority of CM and GC isolates were recovered from fruit, whereas most CO isolates were recovered from foliage. A study was conducted to evaluate the pathogenicity and virulence of anthracnose isolates on cucurbit fruit. Twenty-seven isolates of the three taxa were selected based on the host and geographic origin, mtDNA RFLP haplotype, vegetative compatibility group, and race. Mature fruit from cucumber cultivars Marketer (susceptible) and H19 (resistant) and watermelon cultivars Black Diamond (susceptible) and Charleston Gray (resistant) were used. Fruit were inoculated by placing Torula yeast agar inoculum plugs (8mm in diameter) into wounds. Following inoculation, the wounds were covered with Parafilm and incubated for 8 days at 25C at 100% RH. On the third day the Parafilm was removed from the wound. Disease symptoms were evaluated by measuring lesion diameter and depth and evaluating the presence or absence of sporulation. All three anthracnose taxa are capable of infecting cucurbit fruit. CM and GC isolates were more virulent than CO isolates on cucumber. In contrast, on `Black Diamond', CO isolates were more virulent than CM and GC isolates. No significant differences in virulence were observed on `Charleston Gray'. There were no significant differences in virulence between the races of CO except on `Charleston Gray', where race 2 isolates were significantly more virulent than race 1. CO isolates from cocklebur were only weakly virulent on cucurbit fruit.

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Maria I. Villarroel-Zeballos, Chunda Feng, Angela Iglesias, Lindsey J. du Toit and James C. Correll

Verticillium dahliae is a pathogen of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) during spinach seed crop production but not in vegetative leafy spinach crops, because plants remain asymptomatic until bolting has been initiated (conversion from vegetative to reproductive growth). The objectives of this research were to evaluate a set of USDA spinach germplasm accessions for resistance to Verticillium wilt and to determine the range in incidence of natural seed infection/infestation in a subset of the USDA spinach accessions screened for resistance. A total of 120 Spinacia spp. accessions from the USDA North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station spinach germplasm collection and 10 commercial S. oleracea hybrids were screened for resistance to V. dahliae in Trials 1, 2, and 3 in 2006, 2007, and 2008, respectively, in greenhouse evaluations. Each accession was grown in either V. dahliae-infested or non-infested potting mix and rated weekly on a seven-step scale from 1 week before bolting to 4 weeks after bolting. A wide range of disease severity ratings was observed among the accessions evaluated. Most of the accessions were highly susceptible. There was no evidence of qualitative resistance but some showed greater levels of quantitative resistance than others. Plants in soil infested with V. dahliae senesced faster and had significantly reduced biomass compared with plants in non-infested soil of the same accession. In addition, in Trial 2 (2007), 34% (20 of 59) of the seed samples assayed of the accessions were infested or infected with V. dahliae; and in Trial 3, (2008) 16% (21 of 130) of the seed samples of the USDA accessions evaluated were infested or infected with V. dahliae, V. tricorpus, or Gibellulopsis nigrescens (formerly known as V. nigrescens). These results are valuable for characterizing potential genetic variability within spinach germplasm for resistance to V. dahliae.