PHOMOPSIS sp ASSOCIATED WITH POSTHARVEST FRUIT ROT OF KIWIFRUIT IN ITALY
L. Luongo, A. Santori, L. Riccioni, A. Belisario
Kiwifruit is a very important commercial crop in Italy, the most important producer of the fruit worldwide, followed by China and New Zealand. The relatively rapid expansion of the area given over to kiwifruit has resulted in the spread of various diseases including those developing post-harvest. Stored kiwifruit showing post-harvest symptoms of inner rot with disorganized, soft and lighter green tissues, known as stem end rot, were investigated. Phomopsis isolates recovered from symptomatic tissues were examined morphologically, by DNA sequencing and pathogenicity tests, but could not be identified at the species level. Nevertheless, as reported for Diaporthe actinidiae, they were able to induce a soft rot decay that was artificially reproduced only on wound-inoculated fruit. ITS sequences had 98 to 100% identity with Phomopsis spp. from grapevine (N6), Rosa sp., blueberry (P. vaccinii) and Norway spruce (Diaporthe conorum), but were clearly distinct from D. actinidiae. These results call for extreme caution in fruit handling, as they suggest that only wounded fruits are susceptible to infection by this Phomopsis sp.