New Guinea impatiens, Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull, is widely cultivated as a potted plant and garden plant. In July 2013, hundreds of young plants (cv. Fanfare) showing symptoms of leaf spot with approximately 50% incidence were found in polyethylene tunnels in Yongin City, Korea. Leaf spots were circular to oblong, reaching 6 mm or more in diameter. The spots were initially uniformly brown to reddish brown, turning gray with reddish brown margin. Diseased plants defoliated prematurely and were abandoned without marketing due to signs of discoloration and yellowing on leaves. A cercosporoid fungus was consistently observed in association with disease symptoms. Stromata were brown, small, and composed of a few swollen hyphal cells. Conidiophores were emerging through the cuticle, fasciculate (n = 2 to 20), olivaceous to brown, paler toward the apex, straight to mildly curved, geniculate, 30 to 260 μm long, 3.5 to 5 μm wide, 1- to 6-septate, and with conspicuous conidial scars. Conidia were hyaline and acicular. Smaller conidia were straight and longer conidia were mildly curved. Conidia were subacute to obtuse at the apex, truncate to obconically truncate at the base, 2- to 18-septate, 30 to 320 × 3.5 to 5.5 μm, and with thickened, darkened hila at the base. Morphological characteristics of the fungus were consistent with the previous reports of Cercospora fukushiana (Matsuura) W. Yamam. (1). Voucher specimens were housed in the Korea University herbarium (KUS). An isolate from KUS-F27438 was deposited in the Korean Agricultural Culture Collection (Accession No. KACC47640). Fungal DNA was extracted with DNeasy Plant Mini Kits (Qiagen Inc., Valencia, CA). The complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA was amplified with the primers ITS1/ITS4 (4) and sequenced. The resulting sequence of 497 bp was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. KJ620981). This showed >99% similarity with sequence of C. fukushiana (EF600954) on I. balsamina from Korea. Isolate of KACC47640 was used in the pathogenicity tests. Hyphal suspensions were prepared by grinding 3-week-old colonies grown on PDA with distilled water using a mortar and pestle. Five plants were inoculated with hyphal suspensions and five plants were sprayed with sterile distilled water. The plants were covered with plastic bags to maintain a relative humidity of 100% for 24 h and then transferred to a 25 ± 2°C greenhouse with a 12-h photoperiod. Typical symptoms of necrotic spots appeared on the inoculated leaves 10 days after inoculation, and were identical to the symptoms observed in the field. C. fukushiana was re-isolated from symptomatic leaf tissues, confirming Koch's postulates. No symptoms were observed on water-inoculated control plants. Previously, leaf spots of Impatiens spp. associated with C. apii, C. balsaminae, and C. fukushiana have been reported (1,2,3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. fukushiana on I. hawkeri in Korea. Our observations in the nurseries of I. hawkeri suggest that low humidity with good ventilation as well as plant hygiene in greenhouses might be main strategies for preventing this disease.
References: (1) C. Chupp. A Monograph of the Fungus Genus Cercospora. Ithaca, NY, 1953. (2) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Syst. Mycol. Microbiol. Lab., online publication, ARS, USDA, retrieved March 25, 2014. (3) J. M. Soares et al. Plant Dis. 93:1214, 2009. (4) T. J. White et al. Page 315 in: PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 1990.
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