Special Issue "Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Pathology and Disease Management (PPDM)".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2023) | Viewed by 22228

Special Issue Editors

Department of Agriculture, Food and Enviroment, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia 100, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: plant pathology; morphological and molecular diagnosis of bacteria and fungi; development of diseases control strategies; soil and substrate disinfestation against soil-borne pathogens; fungicides resistance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
AGROINNOVA, Centre for Innovation in the Agro-Environmental Sector, University of Torino, Largo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy
Interests: plant pathology; fungal pathogens phylogeny; tropical and subtropical crop diseases; fruit crop diseases; berry fruit diseases; molecular diagnostics and early detection
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tree fruit crops are affected by several diseases, causing major economic losses worldwide. Biotic and abiotic diseases affect roots, leaves, fruit, and trunks on a large range of hosts: tropical and subtropical crops, olive, citrus, grapevine, stone, pome, berry, and nut fruit.

In recent years, the emergence of new diseases and pathogens has been the subject of extensive studies and research works by the international scientific community. A new disease is reported as emerging when it occurs in a new host or with a new symptoms expression, or if it appears in a geographic area for the first time. Different factors can be involved in the appearance of infection, including: the accidental introduction of exotic pathogens, climate change, favorable environmental conditions, pathogen genetic variation, movement of a susceptible plant species, and the introduction of new genotypes of host species.

In addition, diseases can be caused by different pathogens, and their role is not always clear. An interesting case study is represented by tree decline syndrome, a disease complex caused by multiple fungi. Species of Botryosphaeriaceae, Diaporthaceae, and Diatrypaceae families have often been found associated with this syndrome, but the role of these fungi is still uncertain. Moreover, several fungal pathogens are characterized by a latent endophytic phase and switch to pathogenic behavior when stress conditions occur in the host plant. Thus, elucidating the role of abiotic stress in the infection of fungal pathogens represents an important challenge for research.

The diagnosis of diseases is essential for the establishment of effective management strategies, with major attention to developing sustainable and eco-friendly strategies in pre- and post-harvest conditions. In light of all this, we highly encourage experts and researchers to contribute original scientific articles, reviews, and communications addressing the etiology, epidemiology, and control strategies of fruit tree diseases.

Dr. Dalia Aiello
Dr. Vladimiro Guarnaccia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • abiotic and biotic diseases
  • diagnosis
  • morphological and molecular characterization
  • epidemiology
  • disease control

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Diaporthe and Diplodia Species Associated with Walnut (Juglans regia L.) in Hungarian Orchards
Horticulturae 2023, 9(2), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9020205 - 03 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1173
Abstract
Walnut (Juglans regia L.) production is a developing sector in Hungarian horticulture, where preharvest fruit rot increasingly causes economic losses. Previously, fungi from the Diaporthaceae and Botryosphaeriaceae families were isolated with a high incidence from rotten fruits. Here, we identify these pathogens [...] Read more.
Walnut (Juglans regia L.) production is a developing sector in Hungarian horticulture, where preharvest fruit rot increasingly causes economic losses. Previously, fungi from the Diaporthaceae and Botryosphaeriaceae families were isolated with a high incidence from rotten fruits. Here, we identify these pathogens from different plant parts (twigs, buds, and shoots) in orchards in the north-east of Hungary, and test their pathogenicity on immature nuts. Diaporthe eres Nitschke and Diplodia seriata De Notaris were identified in isolates from different symptomatic and asymptomatic plant parts based on their ITS (nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer) and tef1 (translation elongation factor EF-1-alpha gene) DNA sequences. Purified monocultures caused rot of immature nuts following in vitro inoculation. Our results suggest that D. eres Nitschke and D. seriata De Notaris lingering on buds and overwintering woody parts may affect the seasonal nuts through wound infection. Infection by Diaporthe and Botryosphaeriaceae species present on woody plant parts, as well as on/in buds has been reported in Mediterranean countries. This is the first report of such stepwise aetiology from a region with continental weather. Climate change, associated weather patterns and the limitations of fungicide use in the European Union, among other factors, could be responsible for the increasing number of infections and economic damage caused by these pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Article
Unveiling the Predisposing Factors for the Development of Branch Canker and Dieback in Avocado: A Case of Study in Chilean Orchards
Horticulturae 2022, 8(12), 1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8121121 - 29 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1166
Abstract
Chilean avocado orchards have been affected by branch canker and dieback, mainly associated with pathogens species of the family Botryosphaeriaceae. Producers often relate water stress to these phenomena; however, predisposing factors for these diseases in Chilean orchards have not been reported. Therefore, the [...] Read more.
Chilean avocado orchards have been affected by branch canker and dieback, mainly associated with pathogens species of the family Botryosphaeriaceae. Producers often relate water stress to these phenomena; however, predisposing factors for these diseases in Chilean orchards have not been reported. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify the main climate, planting, and management variables associated with branch canker and dieback in Chilean avocado orchards. Multivariable statistical analyses (PCA and PLS-DA) were performed to analyze 76 variables possibly associated with the incidence of these diseases during two consecutive growing seasons. Our findings indicated that branch canker and dieback are mainly conditioned by orchard variables such as plant age, canopy volume, trunk diameter, leaf area index, and planting density. Variables associated with aged orchards, such as high age, high canopy volume, and high trunk diameter, appeared to be more associated with high incidence levels than were younger orchards with higher planting densities and high tree vigor levels. In addition, abiotic stresses, such as frost and overirrigation, were associated as secondary factors affecting these diseases’ development in avocado orchards. Moreover, this study allowed us to determine that branch canker and dieback can develop indistinctly in the different Chilean agroclimatic zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Article
Elicitor Activity of Curdlan and Its Potential Application in Protection of Hass Avocado Plants against Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands
Horticulturae 2022, 8(7), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8070646 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1251
Abstract
Phytophthora cinnamomi causes one of the most important diseases in avocado crop and its chemical management represents 25% of the production cost per year. Induction of plant defense responses by elicitors is a promising strategy that is compatible with sustainable agriculture. This study [...] Read more.
Phytophthora cinnamomi causes one of the most important diseases in avocado crop and its chemical management represents 25% of the production cost per year. Induction of plant defense responses by elicitors is a promising strategy that is compatible with sustainable agriculture. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of curdlan application on the induction of defense responses in avocado plants against P. cinnamomi. The trials were conducted under greenhouse conditions, and curdlan leaf spraying was performed one day before the inoculation of the pathogen. The results showed that the application of elicitor significantly increased the protection of avocado plants against P. cinnamomi, decreasing the injury and wilting. The Curd + Phy treatment improved the defenses of plants by increasing the enzymes peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in the first 3 h after inoculation and increasing the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and phenylalanine ammonium lyase (PAL) 144 h after inoculation (p < 0.05). Also, chlorophyll and carotenoid content increased or remained stable in Curd + Phy treatment. Therefore, these results suggest that curdlan increases the protection against P. cinnamomi and its protection could be due to an increase in the activity of the enzymes related to the phenylpropanoid pathway as well as the effect on chlorophyll and carotenoids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Article
Antifungal Activity of Volatile Organic Compounds from Bacillus velezensis CE 100 against Colletotrichum gloeosporioides
Horticulturae 2022, 8(6), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8060557 - 20 Jun 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2134
Abstract
Colletotrichum gloeosporioides is the most prevalent phytopathogen, causing anthracnose disease that severely affects the production of various fruit trees, including walnut and jujube. In this study, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from Bacillus velezensis CE 100 disrupted the cell membrane integrity of C. [...] Read more.
Colletotrichum gloeosporioides is the most prevalent phytopathogen, causing anthracnose disease that severely affects the production of various fruit trees, including walnut and jujube. In this study, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from Bacillus velezensis CE 100 disrupted the cell membrane integrity of C. gloeosporioides and reduced the spore germination by 36.4% and mycelial growth by 20.0% at a bacterial broth concentration of 10%, while the control group showed no antifungal effect. Based on the headspace solid-phase microextraction/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME/GC-MS) analysis, seven VOCs were identified from the headspace of B. velezensis CE 100. Out of the seven VOCs, 5-nonylamine and 3-methylbutanoic acid were only detected in the headspace of B. velezensis CE 100 but not in the control group. Both 5-nonylamine and 3-methylbutanoic acid showed significant antifungal activity against the spore germination and mycelial growth of C. gloeosporioides. Treatment with 100 µL/mL of 5-nonylamine and 3-methylbutanoic acid suppressed the spore germination of C. gloeosporioides by 10.9% and 30.4% and reduced mycelial growth by 14.0% and 22.6%, respectively. Therefore, 5-nonylamine and 3-methylbutanoic acid are the potential antifungal VOCs emitted by B. velezensis CE 100, and this is the first report about the antifungal activity of 5-nonylamine against C. gloeosporioides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Article
Evaluation of Fungicides and Application Strategies for the Management of the Red Leaf Blotch Disease of Almond
Horticulturae 2022, 8(6), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8060501 - 04 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2193 | Correction
Abstract
Red leaf blotch (RLB) of almond, caused by Polystigma amygdalinum, is an important foliar disease of this nut tree in the Mediterranean basin and especially in Spain. In recent years, the control of this disease has become a key factor in the [...] Read more.
Red leaf blotch (RLB) of almond, caused by Polystigma amygdalinum, is an important foliar disease of this nut tree in the Mediterranean basin and especially in Spain. In recent years, the control of this disease has become a key factor in the management of Spanish almond orchards. The management of RLB is not easy due to intrinsic factors of the disease (e.g., long infection and latency periods) and the low number of registered fungicides in this country. From 2015 to 2019, different field trials were conducted in the Lleida region, NE Spain, to evaluate the efficacy of several fungicide products and of application strategies to control this disease. Systemic fungicides, which included fluopyram, trifloxystrobin, and mixtures of fluopyram + trifloxystrobin and pyraclostrobin + boscalid, performed better than contact and penetrant products and showed up to 90% control against RLB. However, the efficacy of the tested fungicides varied depending on the year. In terms of application strategies, when fungicide applications were conducted following specific meteorological conditions (after 15 days from >15 mm rainfalls with ≈10–15 °C as the minimum average temperature), their efficacy was comparable to that of calendar-based treatments (every 14, 21, or 31 days from petal fall) but with fewer applications (depending on the year, 2–4 applications as compared with 5–9 for calendar treatments). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Article
Genetic Diversity and Streptomycin Sensitivity in Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae Causing Oily Spot Disease in Pomegranates
Horticulturae 2022, 8(5), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8050441 - 16 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1637
Abstract
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae (Xap) causes bacterial blight disease in pomegranates, often leading to 60–80% economic loss. In absence of a suitable Xap-resistant variety, the near-monoculture of the susceptible variety, Bhagwa, has aggravated the problem further. In recent times, Xap has spread to [...] Read more.
Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae (Xap) causes bacterial blight disease in pomegranates, often leading to 60–80% economic loss. In absence of a suitable Xap-resistant variety, the near-monoculture of the susceptible variety, Bhagwa, has aggravated the problem further. In recent times, Xap has spread to different geographical regions, indicating the wide adaptability of the pathogen. Moreover, lower sensitivity of Xap towards streptocycline containing streptomycin sulphate and tetracycline sulphate (9:1) under field conditions is frequently reported. Therefore, the current study was undertaken to assess the genetic variability of Xap isolates using SSR markers, their in vitro sensitivity towards streptomycin was evaluated, and the probable molecular basis of acquired resistance was studied. Two highly diverse isolates showed extreme differences in their pathogenicity, indicating the highly evolving nature of the pathogen. Moreover, all the isolates showed less than 50% growth inhibition on media containing 1500 µg/mL streptomycin, indicating a lower level of antibiotic sensitivity. On the molecular level, 90% of the isolates showed the presence of strA-strB genes involved in streptomycin metabolism. Additionally, G to A transitions were observed in the rpsL gene in some of the isolates. The molecular data suggest that horizontal gene transfer (strAB) and/or spontaneous gene mutation (in rpsL) could be responsible for the observed lower sensitivity of Xap towards streptomycin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Article
Woody Canker and Shoot Blight Caused by Botryosphaeriaceae and Diaporthaceae on Mango and Litchi in Italy
Horticulturae 2022, 8(4), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8040330 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2121
Abstract
In recent years, the cultivation of tropical fruit crops has increased in the Mediterranean basin, especially in southern Italy. In surveys conducted from 2014 to 2019 woody canker and shoot blight were observed on mango plants (cvs. Kent, Keitt, Sensation, Osteen, and Kensington [...] Read more.
In recent years, the cultivation of tropical fruit crops has increased in the Mediterranean basin, especially in southern Italy. In surveys conducted from 2014 to 2019 woody canker and shoot blight were observed on mango plants (cvs. Kent, Keitt, Sensation, Osteen, and Kensington Pride) and litchi plants (cvs. Way Chee and Kwai Mai Pink) cultivated in Sicily. Botryosphaeriaceae and Diaporthaceae were consistently isolated from symptomatic samples. Morphological characterization and multi-locus phylogenies using three genomic loci (a portion of translation elongation factor 1-α gene, a portion of the β-tubulin gene, and an internal transcribed spacer) identified these fungi as Neofusicoccum parvum, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, Botryosphaeria dothidea, Diaporthe foeniculina, and Diaporthe baccae on mango and Diaporthe foeniculina and Diaporthe rudis on litchi. Pathogenicity tests on healthy mango (cv. Kensington Pride) and litchi (cv. Way Chee) plants demonstrated the pathogenicity of the isolates used in the study, and Koch’s postulates were fulfilled for all pathogens. To our knowledge, this is the first report of L. theobromae, B. dothidea, and Diaporthe species on mango in Italy and the first report worldwide of woody canker and shoot blight caused by D. foeniculina and D. rudis on litchi plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Communication
Effect of Sustainable Preharvest and Postharvest Techniques on Quality and Storability of High-Acidity ‘Reinette du Canada’ Apple
Horticulturae 2022, 8(2), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8020086 - 18 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1814
Abstract
Consumers are more disposed towards paying price premiums for sustainable food products. This fact is especially important for products with a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label, such as the high-acidity apple cultivar ‘Reinette du Canada’. However, ‘Reinette du Canada’ apple fruit is [...] Read more.
Consumers are more disposed towards paying price premiums for sustainable food products. This fact is especially important for products with a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label, such as the high-acidity apple cultivar ‘Reinette du Canada’. However, ‘Reinette du Canada’ apple fruit is affected by two of the main post-harvest disorders in apple cultivars, bitter pit and senescent breakdown. As a means to achieve sustainable production of this high-quality apple cultivar, the effect of a sustainable preharvest technique, summer pruning, in combination with a zero-residue postharvest treatment allowed in organic farming on calcium-related disorders and quality in global terms in this PDO-labelled apple cultivar was assessed during storage. The combination of the two sustainable practices was an effective tool in diminishing senescent breakdown from 43% to 17% and to decrease bitter pit incidence by up to 21% (from 36% to 15%) throughout storage, especially in fruit with high susceptibility to this disorder during storage. Moreover, the overall acceptability was kept high (values of more than 3 on a 5-point scale) when applying this environment-friendly sustainable horticulture practice, which will not only reduce the synthetic pesticide input in the apple agroecosystem, but also contribute to producing fruit with zero residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Communication
A New Leaf Blight Disease Caused by Alternaria jacinthicola on Banana in China
Horticulturae 2022, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8010012 - 23 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3357
Abstract
A leaf blight disease with an incidence level of about 50% was found on Robusta banana in Guangdong province of China in September 2020. The early symptom appeared as pale gray to black brown, irregular, small, necrotic lesions mainly on the top 3–5 [...] Read more.
A leaf blight disease with an incidence level of about 50% was found on Robusta banana in Guangdong province of China in September 2020. The early symptom appeared as pale gray to black brown, irregular, small, necrotic lesions mainly on the top 3–5 leaves. Severely infected leaves were withered and necrotic. Two representative fungus strains, strain L1 and strain L2, were isolated from affected banana leaves, and morphological and molecular identification analysis confirmed that the two fungi were both Alternaria jacinthicola. Many Alternaria species have been reported to cause wilting, decay, leaf blight and leaf spots on plants and lead to serious economic losses in their production, including A. alternata, causing leaf blight and leaf sport diseases on banana. The Koch’s postulates of A. jacinthicola causing the leaf blight disease was further fulfilled, which confirmed that it is the causal agent of this disease. To our knowledge, this is the first report of A. jacinthicola causing leaf blight on banana in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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Review

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Review
Fusarium Species Associated with Diseases of Major Tropical Fruit Crops
Horticulturae 2023, 9(3), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9030322 - 01 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4169
Abstract
Mango, banana, papaya, pineapple, and avocado are categorized as major tropical fruits grown for local consumption, export, and sources of income to the growers. These fruit crops are susceptible to infection by Fusarium in the field, and after harvest, it causes root rot, [...] Read more.
Mango, banana, papaya, pineapple, and avocado are categorized as major tropical fruits grown for local consumption, export, and sources of income to the growers. These fruit crops are susceptible to infection by Fusarium in the field, and after harvest, it causes root rot, vascular wilt, stem rot, and fruit rot. Among the most common and economically important Fusarium species associated with diseases of major fruit are F. oxysporum and F. solani, which are prevalent in tropical regions. Other species include F. incarnatum, F. proliferatum, and F. verticilliodes. Most of these species have a wide host range and infect different parts of the plant. Due to the economic importance of these fruit crops, this review highlights the diseases and Fusarium species that infect fruit crops in the field as well as after harvest. Updated information on Fusarium species infecting major tropical fruit crops is important as disease management in the field and after harvest often relies on the causal pathogens. Moreover, major fruit crops are traded worldwide, and newly recorded species associated with these fruit crops are important for biosecurity purposes. Information on the diseases and causal pathogens may help to facilitate routine diagnosis and planning of suitable plant disease management methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens and Disease Control of Fruit Trees)
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