Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz, Brassicaceae, whose common name is Crantz-large-seeded false flax, is an annual oilseed species. It is grown as a forage and biofuel crop in Europe and North America. False flax is an ideal low-input crop for biodiesel production, because of its low requirements for nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides. Production costs of this crop are substantially lower than those of many other oilseed crops such as rapeseed, corn, and soybean. It is an excellent rotation crop and can reduce disease and insect and weed pressure in wheat fields. During the spring of 2011, commercial and research plantings of C. sativa cultivar Calena in Liberty and Gadsden counties in north Florida developed symptoms typical of downy mildew. In spring of 2012, the same symptoms were observed in experimental plantings of false flax. A white downy mold was observed on the upper third portion of the plants, on the upper stem internodes, and on the developing seed. The affected stems exhibited a twisted growth. Conidiophores had main trunks with dichotomous branches terminating in slender curved tips. Conidia were ovoid and 28 to 45 (mean 36) μm long and 22 to 38 (mean 30) μm wide. Conidiophores were branched (three to four branches, each with six to eight curved tips) and ranged from 107 to 236 μm long and 5 to 14 μm wide. Mycelium was obtained directly from diseased plants for DNA extraction (Qiagen DNeasy Plant Mini Kit, Valencia, CA). Primers ITS1 and ITS4 were used for PCR amplification (4). The PCR product was sequenced bidirectionally with the PCR primers. A consensus nucleotide sequence (Accession JQ997103) was compared to those in the NCBI GenBank database using a BLAST search. The sequence was 99% similar to sequence from Hyaloperonospora camelinae (Gäum.) Göker, Voglmayr, Riethm, M. Weiss & Oberw. (Accession AY198249.1) with a 95% query coverage (1). Pathogenicity was established by applying white conidial masses of downy mildew from field samples to stems of 4-week-old plants grown in pots in a greenhouse maintained at 25 ± 2°C. Noninoculated plants maintained under the similar conditions served as control. Symptoms and signs of downy mildew developed after 14 days only on inoculated plants. Downy mildew constitutes a serious threat to the cultivation of C. sativa in Florida because of the humid climate favoring disease development. Diseased plants may reduce yield and disease management would increase production costs. H. camelinae was previously reported on C. sativa in Oregon, Minnesota, Montana (3), and Nebraska (2). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of downy mildew caused by H. camelinae on C. sativa in Florida.
References: (1) M. Göker et al. Canad. J. Bot. 81:672, 2003. (2) R. M. Harveson et al. Plant Health Progress. 2011. doi: 10.1094/PHP-2011-1014-01-BR. (3) M. L. Putnam et al. Plant Health Progress. 2009. doi: 10.1094/PHP-2009-0910-01-BR. (4) T. J. White et al. Page 315 in: PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. M. A. Innis et al., eds. Academic Press, San Diego, 1990.
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