First Report of Brown Leaf Spot of Rice Caused by Curvularia hawaiiensis in the United States. Academic Article uri icon


  • Multiple diseases, including brown spot (Cochliobolus miyabeanus), leaf spot (Epicoccum sorghimum), and blast (Magnaporthe oryzae), can cause spot-like symptoms on the leaves of rice. In July 2021, a disease showing symptoms like brown spot was observed in an 8-hectare field of rice, with disease incidence of >30%, in Beaumont, Texas. Lesions started as small pinhead-size blackish spots on leaf tips or from the edges of leaf blades. The spots enlarged to become irregular (most) or oval brown spots with a slight chlorotic halo. Diseased leaves were collected, washed in running tap water and cut into small pieces. Pieces of the tissue were surface sterilized with 1%NaOCl for 2 min followed by 75% ethanol for 30 s and then washed in sterile distilled water three times with each time lasting for 1 min. The disinfected tissue pieces were air dried, placed on potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium and incubated at 25. Initially fungal colonies were hairy in texture with light dark brown center and whitish edge and dark brown pigmentation at the reverse side. Mature colonies turned to black in the center and dark brown toward the edge, with black at the reverse side after 2 or more weeks of incubation. Conidia were oval to narrowly oblong, rounded at the ends, with 2 to 6 distoseptate, and 15 to 35 6 to 10 m in size. These morphological characteristics were similar to those described for Curvularia hawaiiensis (Aslam et al. 2019; Ellis 1971; Kusai et al. 2015). For molecular identification, DNA was extracted and the two different rRNA regions internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and large subunit (LSU), and the two genes RNA Polymerase II (RPB1) and translation elongation factor 1 alpha (EF1) of the fungus were amplified using the primers of ITS1/ITS4 (Wang et al. 2014), D1/D2 domain region of LSU (Fell et al. 200), and RPB1 and EF1 (Wang et al. 2014), respectively, and sequenced. The ITS sequence (OK397200) was 98.27% identical to C. hawaiiensis (KP131943); the EF1 sequence (OK492159) was 99.78% identical to C. hawaiiensis (KC503942); the LSU sequence (OK397295) was 98.96% identical to multiple C. hawaiiensis (MN055715, MH160813, MH875853, etc.); the RPB1 sequence (OK492160) was 97.41% identical to C. hawaiiensis (JN992363). To evaluate pathogenicity, three rice plants (cv. Presidio) at the 3-leaf stage were spray inoculated with a conidial suspension of 1 x 106 conidia/ml. Another set of three plants that were sprayed with sterilized distilled water served as the controls. Treated plants were maintained in a greenhouse with temperature ranging from 25 to 30. After 2 weeks, typical symptoms, like those observed in the field, developed on the inoculated plants while no symptoms developed on the control plants. The same fungus was consistently re-isolated from the diseased plants. The pathogenicity test was conducted three times with similar results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of brown leaf spot caused by C. hawaiiensis in rice in the United States. Curvularia species are frequently associated with rice grain and cause blackish discoloration symptoms on grain kernels. Recently, however, C. hawaiiensis has also been reported to cause brown leaf spot in Malaysia (Kusai et al. 2015) and Pakistan (Aslam et al. 2019). This research will help identify this disease from other leaf spot-like diseases and develop effective management strategies.

published proceedings

  • Plant Dis

altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Imran, M., Khanal, S., Zhou, X., Antony-Babu, S., & Atiq, M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Imran, Muhammad||Khanal, Sabin||Zhou, Xin-Gen Shane||Antony-Babu, Sanjay||Atiq, Muhammad

publication date

  • February 2022