Artemisia annua L., known as sweet wormwood or sweet annie, is native to temperate Asia, but is naturalized throughout the world. It produces artemisinin, a potent antimalarial drug that is also effective in treating other parasitic diseases (4). In August 2013, hundreds of plants showing typical symptoms of powdery mildew were found in Seoul (37°36′29.4″ N 127°02′38.3″ E), Korea. Powdery mildew colonies first appeared as thin white patches, which progressed to abundant hyphal growth on both sides of the leaves, stems, and inflorescence. As symptoms continued to develop, the leaves became distorted and turned purplish-gray. Severe infections caused leaf withering and premature senescence. The same symptoms were found on sweet wormwoods in Nonsan (36°09′55.3″ N 127°01′07.1″ E) and Chuncheon (37°52′27.4″ N 127°43′10.0″ E), Korea. Voucher specimens were deposited in the Korea University Herbarium (KUS). Appressoria on the mycelium were nipple-shaped or occasionally lobed. Conidiophores were cylindrical, measured 120 to 230 × 10 to 12.5 μm, and produced 2 to 4 immature conidia in chains with a sinuate outline, followed by 2 to 3 cells. Foot-cells of conidiophores were straight, cylindrical, and 54 to 100 μm long. Conidia were hyaline, ellipsoid to barrel-shaped, measured 30 to 40 × 15 to 20 μm (length/width ratio of 1.5 to 2.1), lacked distinct fibrosin bodies, and showed reticulate wrinkling of the outer walls. Germ tubes were produced on the perihilar position of conidia. Primary conidia were apically rounded, basally subtruncate, and generally smaller than the secondary conidia. No chasmothecia were observed. The structures described above were typical of the powdery mildew Euoidium anamorph of the genus Golovinomyces, and the fungus measurements were similar to those of G. artemisiae (Grev.) V.P. Heluta (3). The complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA from KUS-F27763 was amplified with primers ITS1/ITS4 and sequenced. The resulting sequence of 624 bp was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. KJ136112). The obtained ITS sequence shared >99% similarity with G. artemisiae on A. princeps and A. montana from Japan (AB077659 and AB077649) and A. argyi from China (KF056818). Pathogenicity was confirmed through inoculation by gently dusting conidia onto leaves of five healthy potted plants. Five non-inoculated plants served as controls. Inoculated plants developed symptoms after 5 days, whereas the control plants remained symptomless. The fungus present on the inoculated plants was identical morphologically to that originally observed on diseased plants. Powdery mildews of A. annua caused by G. artemisiae have been reported in Japan, China, the Russian Far East, and Romania (1,2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of powdery mildew caused by G. artemisiae on A. annua in Korea. Since sweet wormwood production was only recently started on a commercial scale in Korea, powdery mildew infections pose a serious threat to the production of this plant, especially in organic farming where chemical control options are limited.
References: (1) K. Amano. Host Range and Geographical Distribution of the Powdery Mildew Fungi. Japan Scientific Societies Press, Tokyo, 1986. (2) U. Braun. The Powdery Mildews (Erysiphales) of Europe. G. Fischer Verlag, Jena, 1995. (3) U. Braun and R. T. A. Cook. Taxonomic Manual of the Erysiphales (Powdery Mildews), CBS Biodiversity Series No.11. CBS, Utrecht, 2012. (4) P. J. Weathers et al. Phytochem. Rev. 10:173, 2011.
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