Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum

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symptoms of Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum on watermelon (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): David B. Langston, University of Georgia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum (Fr.) Aveskamp, Gruyter & Verkley 2010 - (gummy stem blight)

This fungus is found mainly in subtropical and tropical regions around the world. In temperate regions it can occur in greenhouses. It causes the disease gummy stem blight on cucurbits like melon, watermelon, cucumber and squash. Epidemics develop under moist conditions, and can result in nearly complete crop losses. The most characteristic symptoms are lesions on the stems and the production of gummy exudates.

Initial symptoms are chlorosis of the leaf margins. These become necrotic, fruits develop a black rot, and elongated lesions and cankers form on the stems. Most parts of the plant are affected and can produce gummy exudates. Affected stems sections die off and the plant may wilt and die. Under humid conditions, greyish pycnidia form on the lesions and release conidia, which disperse through rain splashes. Black, spherical sexual fruiting bodies (perithecia) also form on the lesions. They produce ascospores, that cause new infections by entering wounds.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Stengelbrand der Gurkengewächse
Gummistängelkrankheit
• English: gummy stem blight
• Español: chamuscado de los tallos del pepino
• Français: brûlure des tiges du melon
• Português: gomoso do caule em melancia

Between seasons, the fungus persists in plant debris, in seeds, or in alternate hosts. In plant debris, it survives for at least half a year (Keinath, 2008). Management involves mainly the treatment of seeds and the use of fungicides. However, fungicide-resistance has repeatedly developed (e.g. see Thomas et al., 2014).

Synonyms:
Cercospora citrullina
Didymella bryoniae
Didymella melonis
Mycosphaerella citrullina
Mycosphaerella melonis
Phoma cucurbitacearum
Sphaeria bryoniae