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Evidence for Systemic Infection by Puccinia horiana, Causal Agent of Chrysanthemum White Rust, in Chrysanthemum

January 2015 , Volume 105 , Number  1
Pages  91 - 98

M. R. Bonde, C. A. Murphy, G. R. Bauchan, D. G. Luster, C. L. Palmer, S. E. Nester, J. M. Revell, and D. K. Berner

First, fourth, sixth, and eighth authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)–Agricultural Research Service (ARS), 1301 Ditto Ave., Fort Detrick, MD 21702; second and third authors: USDA–ARS, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, West, Beltsville, MD 20705; and fifth and seventh authors: IR-4 Project, Rutgers University, Princeton, NJ 08520.

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Accepted for publication 24 July 2014.

Puccinia horiana, causal agent of the disease commonly known as chrysanthemum white rust (CWR), is a quarantine-significant fungal pathogen of chrysanthemum in the United States and indigenous to Asia. The pathogen was believed to have been eradicated in the United States but recently reappeared on several occasions in northeastern United States. The objective of the study presented here was to determine whether P. horiana could systemically infect chrysanthemum plants, thus providing a means of survival through winters. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed the development of P. horiana on the surface and within leaves, stems, or crowns of inoculated chrysanthemum plants artificially exposed to northeastern U.S. winter temperatures. P. horiana penetrated leaves directly through the cuticle and then colonized the mesophyll tissue both inter- and intracellularly. An electron-dense material formed at the interface between fungal and host mesophyll cells, suggesting that the pathogen adhered to the plant cells. P. horiana appeared to penetrate mesophyll cell walls by enzymatic digestion, as indicated by the absence of deformation lines in host cell walls at penetration sites. The fungus was common in vascular tissue within the infected crown, often nearly replacing the entire contents of tracheid cell walls. P. horiana frequently passed from one tracheid cell to an adjacent tracheid cell by penetration either through pit pairs or nonpitted areas of the cell walls. Individual, presumed, fungal cells in mature tracheid cells of the crown and stems arising from infected crowns suggested that the pathogen might have been moving at least partially by means of the transpiration stream. The demonstration that chrysanthemum plants can be systemically infected by P. horiana suggests that additional disease control measures are required to effectively control CWR.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2015.