The Incidence of Alternaria Species Associated with Infected Sesamum indicum L. Seeds from Fields of the Punjab, Pakistan

Brian Gagosh Nayyar, Steve Woodward, Luis A J Mur, Abida Akram, Muhammad Arshad, S M Saqlan Naqvi, Shaista Akhund

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Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is an important oil seed crop of Asia. Yields can be negatively impacted by various factors, including disease, particularly those caused by fungi which create problems in both production and storage. Foliar diseases of sesame such as Alternaria leaf blight may cause significant yield losses, with reductions in plant health and seed quality. The work reported here determined the incidence of Alternaria species infecting sesame seeds grown in the Punjab, Pakistan. A total of 428 Alternaria isolates were obtained from 105 seed samples and grouped into 36 distinct taxonomic groups based on growth pattern and morphological characters. Isolation frequency and relative density of surface sterilized and non-surface sterilized seeds showed that three isolates (A13, A47 and A215) were the most common morphological groups present. These isolates were further identified using sequencing of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and the Alternaria major allergen gene (Alt a 1). Whilst ITS of rDNA did not resolve the isolates into Alternaria species, the Alt a 1 sequences exhibited > 99% homology with Alternaria alternata (KP123850.1) in GenBank accessions. The pathogenicity and virulence of these isolates of Alternaria alternata was confirmed in inoculations of sesame plants resulting in typical symptoms of leaf blight disease. This work confirms the identity of a major source of sesame leaf blight in Pakistan which will aid in formulating effective disease management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-553
Number of pages11
JournalThe Plant Pathology Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2017


  • alternaria
  • alt a 1 gene
  • ITS
  • Punjab
  • sesame seeds


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