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A new foliar disease of Ficus religiosa caused by Diaporthe acutispora, identified using molecular phylogeny based on multigene DNA sequence analyses

Authors:

N. Adikaram ,

National Institute of Fundamental Studies, LK
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S. Maharachchikumbura,

University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, CN
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I.S.K. Vithanage,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About I.S.K.
Department of Botany
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D. Yakandawala,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About D.
Department of Botany
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L. Jayasinghe

National Institute of Fundamental Studies, LK
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Abstract

Ficus religiosa is a large tree, native to India, and considered to have religious significance and found invariably in Buddhist shrines. The manuscript reports a new foliar disease, named as ‘Diaporthe leaf disease’ (DLD) in F. religiosa. DLD was first observed in a Buddhist temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2012 and now spread over some other parts of the island. Causal organism was identified as Diaporthe acutispora, based on combined ITS, TUB and TEF phylogenetic analysis. Koch’s postulates were fulfilled, confirming that D. acutispora was the pathogen, producing symptoms originally observed in F. religiosa leaves. Initial infections occur in younger but fully expanded leaves, producing darkened, 1.0-1.5 cm segments of the mid-rib or primary/secondary veins. Peripheral tissues around the darkened mid-rib/vein became necrotic with large, circular and chlorotic zones. The most striking symptom was the appearance of clusters of numerous, shiny, blackish and spherical to irregular conidiomata (pycnidial) over the leaf surface and along the affected mid-rib/veins of senescing leaves. Infected leaves, younger or mature, tended to roll upwards showing desiccation probably due to blockage of water movement through infected mid-rib/veins. Considering the potentially devastative nature of the DLD, and that the disease has already spread over to parts of the country, findings in the present work will be significant in terms of disease diagnosis and management. Accurate identification of the pathogen is a prerequisite to determine the epidemiology and, effective disease management strategies. This is the first report of DLD in F. religiosa anywhere in the world.

How to Cite: Adikaram, N., Maharachchikumbura, S., Vithanage, I.S.K., Yakandawala, D. and Jayasinghe, L., 2021. A new foliar disease of Ficus religiosa caused by Diaporthe acutispora, identified using molecular phylogeny based on multigene DNA sequence analyses. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 49(4), pp.573–581. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jnsfsr.v49i4.10370
Published on 31 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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