Many watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) diseases are caused by soilborne pathogens in Brazil and worldwide. The goal of this study was to identify and quantify the frequency of phytopathogenic fungi associated with watermelon root rot and vine decline that were also present in the roots of weeds in the major watermelon production regions in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. We collected root samples from 10 of the most prevalent weed species in 16 watermelon producing areas. The plants were identified and their frequencies in the fields were calculated. The fungi found in the weed roots were isolated and the main genera associated with watermelon vine decline were identified. We identified 13 weed species belonging to nine botanical families. The weed species with the highest frequencies found in the field were Amaranthus spinosus (25.0%), Trianthema portulacastrum (18.8%), Commelina sp. (18.8%), and Boerhavia diffusa (12.5%). The fungi Macrophomina, Rhizoctonia, and Monosporascus were isolated from the roots of the weed plants. While Macrophomina was isolated from 12 different types of plants, Rhizoctonia and Monosporascus were isolated from four and two different plant species, respectively.
Citrullus lanatus; Isolation; Macrophomina; Rhizoctonia; Monosporascus