First report of Botrytis cinerea causing postharvest fruit rot on stored pomegranates in Pakistan.
This pomegranate (Punica granatum) is an emerging fruit industry in Pakistan, and the crop is currently cultivated on 11 200 ha. During November 2017, a survey was conducted in Multan and Muzaffargarh, major pomegranate-producing region in Punjab Province. Postharvest fruit rots were observed on 'Kandhari' pomegranates after 35 days of storage at 6 °C. The symptoms consisted of irregular, small, grayish-brown lesons on fruit crown that later developed into expanded (46 to 53 mm in diameter), dark brown lesions. In severe cases, the whole fruit rotted and was covered with gray fungal growth. The disease was severe in 47% of stored fruit. Based on morphological characteristics, molecular data (sequence analysis of the rDNA internal transcribed spacer region and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene) and pathogenicity test, the causal agent was identified as B. cinerea. The disease has been reported in other parts of the world, including Asia and Europe. This is thought to be the first report of B. cinerea causing portharvest fruit rot of pomegranate in Pakistan.