PHIALOPHORALIKE FUNGI ASSOCIATED WITH KIWIFRUIT ELEPHANTIASIS
A. Prodi, S. Sandalo, S. Tonti, P. Nipoti, A. Pisi
An unusual disease, named elephantiasis for its typical symptoms, has been seen in orchards of kiwifruit cv. Hayward in Emilia-Romagna (northern Italy) since 2001. Phialophora-like isolates were obtained from the necrotic wood and were studied in vitro for phenotype and tissue colonization ability. We used primers amplifying the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) for molecular identification. Phaeoacremonium strains were further identified with b-tubulin-specific primers. Strains of Cadophora, Lecythophora and Phaeoacremonium were classified and characterized. The isolates differed in their ability to colonise tissue. P. aleophilum and C. melinii showed the highest colonization index. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Cadophora melinii isolated from kiwifruit plants.