Mal secco (caused by Phoma tracheiphila (Petri) Kantsch. and Gik.) is the most destructive fungal disease of lemon plantations worldwide and seedless lemons would be preferred by most consumers. Five dosage levels, 0, 3, 5, 7, and 9 kiloradian (krad), of cobalt (Co-60) gamma irradiation were applied to budstick of 'Kutdiken' lemon (Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.) clone KT-2A. Mutations were stabilized in three vegetative generations. Three hundred fifty-eight and 478 M1V3 (mutation one and vegetation three) plants were evaluated for seed number and mal secco tolerance in the field and the greenhouse, respectively. LD50 was around 5 krad gamma irradiation for 'Kutdiken' lemon. The seed number varied from 0 to 34 per fruit. The level of mal secco tolerance also varied significantly among the plants from 1.0 (no symptom) to 4.3 (high level of disease occurance). The stable seedless and mal secco tolerant plants were obtained from 5 and 7 krad irradiation: the three mutants from 5 krad irradiation gave more lemon-like fruits, while 7 krad irradiation caused altered tree morphology and early maturation of fruits. This study shows considerable potential for lemon cultivar improvement aiming to obtain seedless and mal secco tolerant lemons. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.