Cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a very valuable fruit crop in Sicily where the species was introduced since the XVI century. In the commercial orchards of Belpasso and San Cono in the province of Catania (eastern Sicily), which are two major growing areas, fruits are produced for both domestic trade and export. Since 2007, a soft rot associated with a blue mold was observed on cactus pear fruits in packinghouses and storage facilities in these two areas. Losses due to this disease were economically relevant but never exceeded 2% of an entire fruit stock. Isolations from symptomatic fruits yielded consistently a species of Penicillium that was identified as P. polonicum on the basis of morphological characteristics and the sequencing part of the β-tubulin gene. Symptoms were reproduced by inoculating healthy mature cactus pear fruits with a conidial suspension (106 conidia ml-1) of P. polonicum isolates obtained from fruits with natural infections. P. polonicum is a common and widespread mold. It has been found as a resident on the peel of litchi fruits in South Africa and citrus fruits in Korea. Moreover it has been reported as causal agent of postharvest soft rot of tomato and yam in Canada and Korea, respectively. However, this is the first report of this Penicillium species as both a resident and a pathogen on prickly pear cactus worldwide.
|Titolo:||Penicillium polonicum causing fruit rot on cactus pear in Italy|
|Data di pubblicazione:||Being printed|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|