Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis Willd) growing in 28 gardens during 2009 showed 100% disease incidence and 3 to 7% disease severity. Bougainvilleas with white flowers were the most affected. Symptoms consisted of light brown spots with dark brown margins visible on adaxial and abaxial sides of the leaves. Spots were circular, 2 to 7 mm in diameter, often surrounded by a chlorotic halo, and delimited by major leaf veins. Single-spore cultures were incubated at 24°C under near UV light for 7 days to obtain conidia. Pathogenicity was confirmed by spraying a conidial suspension (1 × 104 spores/ml) on leaves of potted bougainvillea plants (white, red, yellow, and purple flowers), incubating the plants in a dew chamber for 48 h and maintaining them in a greenhouse (20 to 24°C). Identical symptoms to those observed at the residential gardens appeared on inoculated plants after 45 to 60 days. The fungus was reisolated from inoculated plants that showed typical symptoms. No symptoms developed on control plants treated with sterile distilled water. The fungus produced distinct stromata that were dark brown, spherical to irregular, and 20 to 24 μm in diameter. Conidiophores were simple, born from the stromata, loose to dense fascicles, brown, straight to curved, not branched, zero to two septate, 14 × 2 μm, with two to four conspicuous and darkened scars. The conidia formed singly, were brown, broad, ellipsoid, obclavate, straight to curved with three to four septa, 40 × 4 μm, and finely verrucous with thick hilum at the end. Fungal DNA from the single-spore cultures was obtained using a commercial DNA Extraction Kit (Qiagen, Valencia, CA); ribosomal DNA was amplified with ITS5 and ITS4 primers and sequenced. The sequence was deposited at the National Center for Biotechnology Information Database (GenBank Accession Nos. HQ231216 and HQ231217). The symptoms (4), morphological characteristics (1,2,4), and pathogenicity test confirm the identity of the fungus as Passalora bougainvilleae (Muntañola) Castañeda & Braun (= Cercosporidium bougainvilleae Muntañola). This pathogen has been reported from Argentina, Brazil, Brunei, China, Cuba, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Thailand, the United States, and Venezuela (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of this disease on B. spectabilis Willd in Mexico. P. bougainvilleae may become an important disease of bougainvillea plants in tropical and subtropical areas of Mexico.
References: (1) U. Braun and R. R. Castañeda. Cryptogam. Bot. 2/3:289, 1991. (2) M. B. Ellis. More Dematiaceous Hypomycetes. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, Surrey, UK, 1976. (3) C. Nakashima et al. Fungal Divers. 26:257, 2007. (4) K. L. Nechet and B. A. Halfeld-Vieira. Acta Amazonica 38:585, 2008.