Isolation and Identification of Fungi Associated with Habanero Pepper (Capsicum chinense jacq) Using Basic Molecular Techniques
Habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) is an economically important vegetable. It is used as spices for foods and for medicinal purposes in many parts of the country. Despite the importance of the crop, it has been observed that during storage, the fruits of the Habanero pepper (HP) shelf-life is reduced by several post-harvest diseases caused by fungal pathogens. A study was conducted to identify the common fungal pathogens causing post-harvest rot of Habanero fruits at the daily market in Omoko Aluu Town, Rivers State. The DNA of the most common fungal isolate HP-02 was molecularly characterized using Internal Transcribed Spacer 1 (ITS-1) molecular marker. The HP-02 isolate DNA sequence was aligned using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool for nucleotide (BLASTN) 2.8.0 version of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database. The results indicated that the HP-02 isolate sequence was 79% identical to Mucor irregularis and also Rhizomucor viriabilis isolate SAPB3. These findings showed that Mucor irregularis, which was formerly known as Rhizomucor variabilis is one of the emerging causal fungal pathogens of post-harvest Habanero pepper.