Diversity and cross-infection potential of colletotrichum causing fruit rots in mixed-fruit orchards in kentucky

Madison J. Eaton, Shanice Edwards, Harrison A. Inocencio, Franklin J. Machado, Etta M. Nuckles, Mark Farman, Nicole A. Gauthier, Lisa J. Vaillancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Fungi in the genus Colletotrichum cause apple, blueberry, and strawberry fruit rots, which can result in significant losses. Accurate identification is important because species differ in aggressiveness, fungicide sensitivity, and other factors affecting management. Multiple Colletotrichum species can cause similar symptoms on the same host, and more than one fruit type can be infected by a single Colletotrichum species. Mixed-fruit orchards may facilitate cross-infection, with significant management implications. Colletotrichum isolates from small fruits inKentucky orchards were characterized and compared with apple isolates via a combination of morphotyping, sequencing of voucher loci and whole genomes, and cross-inoculation assays. Seven morphotypes representing two species complexes (C. acutatum and C. gloeosporioides) were identified. Morphotypes corresponded with phylogenetic species C. fioriniae, C. fructicola, C. nymphaeae, and C. siamense, identified by TUB2 or GAPDH barcodes. Phylogenetic trees built from nine single-gene sequences matched barcoding results with one exception, later determined to belong to an undescribed species. Comparison of single-gene trees with representative whole genome sequences revealed that CHS and ApMat were the most informative for diagnosis of fruit rot species and individual morphotypes within the C. acutatum or C. gloeosporioides complexes, respectively. All blueberry isolates belonged to C. fioriniae, and most strawberry isolates were C. nymphaeae, with a few C. siamense and C. fioriniae also recovered. All three species cause fruit rot on apples in Kentucky. Cross-inoculation assays on detached apple, blueberry, and strawberry fruits showed that all species were pathogenic on all three hosts but with species-specific differences in aggressiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1128
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
†Corresponding authors: N. A. Gauthier; ngauthier@uky.edu, and L. J. Vaillancourt; vaillan@uky.edu Funding: This work was supported by Kentucky Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant PON2 035 1700001212 and by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Program under 1014371.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Phytopathological Society. All rights reserved.


  • Apple bitter rot
  • Barcoding
  • Blueberry ripe rot
  • Colletotrichum
  • Cross-infection
  • Fruit
  • Fungal genomics
  • Fungi
  • Genome
  • Pathogen diversity
  • Strawberry anthracnose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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