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Keywords:

  • anthracnose;
  • β-tubulin;
  • chilli;
  • Colletotrichum;
  • ITS;
  • morphology;
  • pathogenicity;
  • phylogeny

Fungal isolates from chilli (Capsicum spp.) fruits in Thailand that showed typical anthracnose symptoms were identified as Colletotrichum acutatum, C. capsici and C. gloeosporioides. Phylogenetic analyses from DNA sequence data of ITS rDNA and β-tubulin (tub2) gene regions revealed three major clusters representing these three species. Among the morphological characters examined, colony growth rate and conidium shape in culture were directly correlated with the phylogenetic groupings. Comparison with isolates of C. gloeosporioides from mango and C. acutatum from strawberry showed that host was not important for phylogenetic grouping. Pathogenicity tests validated that all three species isolated from chilli were causal agents for chilli anthracnose when inoculated onto fruits of the susceptible Thai elite cultivar Capsicum annuum cv. Bangchang. Cross-infection potential was shown by C. acutatum isolates originating from strawberry, which produced anthracnose on Bangchang. Interestingly, only C. acutatum isolates from chilli were able to infect and produce anthracnose on PBC 932, a resistant genotype of Capsicum chinense. This result has important implications for Thai chilli breeding programmes in which PBC 932 is being hybridized with Bangchang to incorporate anthracnose resistance into chilli cultivars.