Carrot (Daucus carota) is an important root vegetable crop in China, which accounted for 46% of global production in 2011. Carrot was grown in Henan Province on >20,000 ha/year, which ranks first in China for area of carrots harvested. In October 2012, a powdery mildew outbreak was observed in 16 investigated carrot production fields in Zhoukou, Henan Province, in central China. White colonies typical of powdery mildew were seen on leaves of affected plants. The colonies enlarged and finally coalesced. Small, scattered fruiting bodies found on the adaxial and abaxial leaf surfaces were determined microscopically to be chasmothecia. Examining the pathogen morphologically revealed that appressoria were lobed, conidiophores were straight and bore single conidia, and cylindrical foot cells were followed by one to three shorter cells in the conidiophores. Conidiophores were subhyaline and 54.1 to 66.1 × 6.1 to 8.1 μm. Conidia were barrel-cylindrical and 28.8 to 38.6 × 11.4 to 14.8 μm. Chasmothecia were subspherical, dark brown to black, formed hyphoid appendages, and 110 to 122 μm in diameter. Appendages typically had one to five branches, which were nearly dichotomous or irregular, flexuous or almost straight, and 30 to 165 μm long. Each chasmothecium contained multiple asci that were saccate, multiguttulate, short-stipitate or not, 62.5 to 63.8 × 43.2 to 45.9 μm, and each contained two to six ascospores. Ascospores were subhyaline, ovoid to ellipsoid, and 16.5 to 17.7 × 11.2 to 12.7 μm. Based on characteristics of the anamorphic and teleomorphic stages, the fungus was identified as Erysiphe heraclei (2,4). To verify the identity, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of ribosomal DNA was amplified with universal primers ITS1 and ITS4, and sequenced. The ITS sequence was assigned GenBank Accession No. KC480605, and showed 100% similarity to ITS sequences of E. heraclei on carrot in GenBank (EU371725 and GU252368). Koch's postulates were completed by using detached infected leaves from 10-week-old carrot plants growing in a field to inoculate 10 healthy, 5-week-old plants of the carrot cultivar Dinghong, growing in a growth chamber under 22/16°C (day/night) cycle at 50% relative humidity with 120 μmol/m2/s light and a 14-h photoperiod. Ten non-inoculated plants served as replicates of a control treatment. Symptoms consistent with those in the field were observed on inoculated plants 20 days post-inoculation. No symptoms were observed on the control plants. Microscopic observation of the pathogen growing on the inoculated plants revealed that it was the same as the original fungus. Powdery mildew on carrot has been observed in many countries including Australia (1), Mexico (3), and the United States (2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of E. heraclei infection on carrot in central China, a major region of carrot production, although the disease has previously been observed in northwestern China (4). Further research should help to reduce losses in carrot crops caused by E. heraclei in central China.
References: (1) J. H. Cunnington et al. Australas. Plant Dis. Notes 3:38, 2008. (2) D. A. Glawe et al. Plant Health Progress doi: 10.1094/PHP-2005-0114-01-HN, 2005. (3) G. Rodríguez-Alvarado et al. Plant Dis. 94:483, 2010. (4) R. Zheng and G. Chen. Pp. 97-99 in: Flora Fungorum Sinicorum Vol. 1. Erysiphales. R. Zheng et al., eds. Science Press, Beijing, 1987.
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