Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris L. subsp. cicla) is a widely planted vegetable in China. From May to June 2013, an outbreak of powdery mildew on Swiss chard cultivar Fangzheng was observed in the commercial fields in Zhoukou city of Henan Province, located in central China. More than 80% of the plants exhibited symptoms of the disease. At the beginning of infection, circular, white, dust-like colonies of powdery mildew occurred mainly on adaxial surfaces of leaves. As the disease progressed, white mycelia covered the foliar parts of plant. No cleistothecia were found on or in collected samples. Upon microscopic evaluation, conidiophores were unbranched with the length of 63 to 126 and width of 7 to 10 μm (n = 50), produced conidia singly, and composed of a cylindrical foot cell followed by one to three short cells. Conidia were colorless, hyaline, ovoid, measured 29 to 40 × 12 to 18 μm (n = 100), lacked fibrosin bodies, and produced germ tubes on the ends of the conidia. The fungus was identified as Erysiphe betae according to the morphological features (1). To verify the identity, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region was amplified with the universal primers ITS1 and ITS4 (2) and sequenced. The ITS sequence obtained was assigned as Accession No. KF268348 in GenBank, which showed 100% homogeneity with two ITS sequences of E. betae isolates from UK (DQ164432 and DQ164436). Koch's postulates were conducted by inoculating 15 healthy 5-week-old plants (cv. Fangzheng) with detached infected leaves, which grew in a growth chamber under 22/16°C (day/night), 50% relative humidity, 120 μmol/m2/s light and a 16-h photoperiod. Fifteen non-inoculated plants grew in another growth chamber with the same conditions as control. Symptoms consistent with the infected field plants were observed on the inoculated plants, while no symptoms were found on the control plants. Microscopic observation revealed that the pathogen growing on the inoculated plants was consistent with the morphology of the original fungus. To our knowledge, this is the first report of E. betae infection on Swiss chard in China (3).
References: (1) S. Francis. Mol. Plant Pathol. 3:119, 2002. (2) 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, CA, 1990. (3) R. Y. Zheng et al. Page 63 in: Flora Fungorum Sinicorum, Vol. 1, Erysiphales. Science Press, Beijing, 1987.
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