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Distinct Species Exist Within the Cercospora apii Morphotype

August 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  8
Pages  951 - 959

Marizeth Groenewald , Johannes Z. Groenewald , and Pedro W. Crous

First and third authors: Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Binnenhaven 5, 6709 PD Wageningen, The Netherlands; and first, second, and third authors: Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Accepted for publication 13 April 2005.

The genus Cercospora is one of the largest genera of hyphomycetes. Cercospora apii sensu lato is the oldest name for a large complex of morphologically indistinguishable Cercospora spp. occurring on a wide host range. There are currently 659 recognized Cercospora spp., and names of another 281 morphologically identical species are included in the synonymy of C. apii sensu lato. Two of the species that belong to the C. apii complex, C. apii and C. beticola, cause Cercospora leaf spot on Apium graveolens (celery) and Beta vulgaris (sugar beet), respectively. In the present study, multilocus sequence data, amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis, and cultural characteristics were used as additional features to characterize morphologically similar Cercospora strains occurring on celery and sugar beet. From the data obtained, it is shown that C. apii and C. beticola, although morphologically similar and able to cross-infect each others' hosts, are distinct functional species that should be retained as separate entities. Furthermore, a third, as yet undescribed species of Cercospora was detected in celery fields in Korea and Venezuela, suggesting that additional undescribed species also may be found to cause Cercospora leaf spot on celery. A polymerase chain reactionbased diagnostic protocol distinguishes all three Cercospora spp.

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society