Inflorescence rot disease of date palm caused by Fusarium proliferatum in Southern Iraq
Date palm is one of the important income sources for many farmers in different parts of several countries, including Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Africa etc. Inflorescence rot is a serious disease of date palm which limits its yield. The identification of the causal organism is a key step to tackling this disease, and such studies are very scanty. The objective of this present study was to identify the causal agent of inflorescence rot disease occurring on date palms prevailing in Southern Iraq. The diseased date palm trees were observed in Shaat-Al-Arab and Al-Deer regions near Basrah in Iraq. The isolates were identified using morphological and molecular parameters. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS)/5.8S regions were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequenced. The PCR method and phylogenetic relationship successfully identified that the causal organism of date palm inflorescence rot disease in southern part of Iraq is Fusarium proliferatum. Pathogenecity test confirmed the disease-causing ability of the fungus, and sequence comparison for similarity of ITS region. Identification of this new causal agent of inflorescence rot may help the plant pathologists to control this disease.
Keywords: Fusarium proliferatum, ITS1, ITS4, pathogenecity, PCR, isolates, phylogeny