Powdery mildew can be found in most papaya (Carica papaya L.) fields during the winter and spring seasons in Taiwan. It usually causes severe yellowing of the leaf lamina and petiole and serious defoliation. Three types of powdery mildew fungi were isolated from papaya leaves in Chiayi City (23.28°N, 120.28°E) at the beginning of 2008. Conidia of the first one were single, globose, hyaline, and 24 to 36 × 14 to 18 μm (average 30.2 × 15.6 μm) without fibrosin bodies and with straight or occasionally flexuous conidiophores at the base. The second one had short pseudo-chains of two to four conidia which were ellipsoidal to ovoid, hyaline, and 24 to 40 × 12 to 16 μm (average 29.7 × 13.4 μm) without fibrosin bodies. The third type had chains of ellipsoidal conidia that were hyaline, 24 to 28 × 12 to 16 μm (average 26.3 × 14.4 μm) and contained fibrosin bodies. To confirm the identity of the three fungi, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA was amplified using the primer pairs G1 (5′-TCC GTA GGT GAA CCT GCG GAA GGA T-3′)/Ed2 (5′-CGC GTA GAG CCC ACG TCG GA-3′), G1 (5′-TCC GTA GGT GAA CCT GCG GAA GGA T-3′)/On2 (5′-TGT GAT CCA TGT GAC TGG AA-3′), and S1 (5′-GGA TCA TTA CTG AGC GCG AGG CCC CG-3′)/S2 (5′-CGC CGC CCT GGC GCG AGA TAC A-3′). The alignment of obtained sequences (GenBank Accession Nos. GU358452, 507 bp; GU358451, 580 bp; and GU358450, 455 bp) showed a sequence identity of 100, 99, and 99% with the ITS sequences of Erysiphe diffusa, Oidium neolycopersici, and Podosphaera xanthii (GenBank Accession Nos. FJ378880, EU909694, and GQ927254), respectively. On the basis of morphological characteristics and ITS sequence similarities, these fungi were identified as E. diffusa (Cooke & Peck) U. Braun & S. Takam., O. neolycopersici L. Kiss, and P. xanthii (Castagne) U. Braun & S. Takam., respectively (1,3). Single colonies on papaya leaves infected with powdery mildew were identified in the laboratory and maintained on papaya leaves as inoculum. Pathogenicity was confirmed through inoculations by gently pressing a single colony of each fungus onto leaves of healthy papaya seedlings (cv. Horng-Fe). Five seedlings were inoculated for each fungus and then covered with plastic bags for 2 days. Five noninoculated seedlings served as control. After inoculation, treated plants were maintained separately from the control in different rooms of a greenhouse at 25°C under natural daylight conditions. Seven days after inoculation, typical symptoms of powdery mildew were observed on inoculated plants, but not on noninoculated plants. The same species from diseased lesions following artificial inoculation with each fungus were identified with light microscopy. Papaya was previously described as a host to O. caricae Noack in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world including Taiwan (2). However E. cruciferarum, Golovinomyces cichoracearum, Oidiopsis sicula, O. caricae, O. caricae-papayae, O. caricicola, O. indicum, O. papayae, Ovulariopsis papayae, P. caricae-papayae, P. macularis, P. xanthii, and Streptopodium caricae were reported to infect papaya (4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of papaya powdery mildew caused by E. diffusa and O. neolycopersici in the world and the first report of the three fungi found on papaya in Taiwan.
References: (1) U. Braun and S. Takamatsu. Schlechtendalia 4:1, 2000. (2) H. S. Chien and H. L. Wang. J. Agric. Res. China 33:320, 1984. (3) L. Kiss et al. Mycol. Res. 105:684, 2001. (4) J. R. Liberato et al. Mycol. Res. 108:1185, 2004.
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