Bipolaris hawaiiensis has been reported on bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and other Cynodon spp. from subtropical areas around the world (2). This pathogen has not previously been reported on bermudagrass in North America (1) nor has its virulence been compared with that of other Bipolaris spp. on this host. In July and October 1999, frequencies of dematiaceous hyphomycetous pathogens in live but symptomatic leaves of bermudagrass were determined on two poultry waste application sites in Smith and Covington counties, MS, where foliar disease symptoms were widespread. Common bermudagrass was being grazed in Covington County, and cv. Alicia was being grown for hay in Smith County. At each date and site, 100 stems with leaves exhibiting symptoms of chlorosis and necrosis were collected, and a single leaf with well-developed symptoms from each stem was assayed for pathogens by surface-disinfesting, plating on water agar, and observing fungal sporulation. Multiple species of pathogens were detected on most leaves. Identities and mean frequencies of observed pathogen species across both sites and sampling dates were Exserohilum rostratum (62%), Bipolaris cynodontis (98%), Curvularia lunata (28%), C. geniculata (20%), B. spicifera (3%), and B. hawaiiensis (3%). B. hawaiiensis was detected at both sites and on both sampling dates. It was distinguished from B. cynodontis by smaller conidia (14 to 28 μm long) and from B. spicifera by more than three pseudosepta per conidium. Virulence of B. hawaiiensis on bermudagrass, compared with B. cynodontis and B. spicifera, was assessed in two identical inoculation experiments using three pathogen-inoculated treatments plus an uninoculated control. In each experiment, foliage of 12-week-old plants in five replicate pots per treatment was sprayed with 4 × 104 conidia per ml of water of each pathogen. The pots were incubated under 12-h plant-growth lights at 25°C for 3 days in a water-saturated atmosphere to initiate infection and then grown for seven additional days in ambient air under plant-growth lights at 25°C. All three pathogens induced symptoms of chlorosis and necrotic lesions. Symptoms induced by B. hawaiiensis were similar in severity to those produced by B. spicifera and less severe than those produced by B. cynodontis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of B. hawaiiensis on bermudagrass in North America. The site in Smith County also apparently represents its northernmost known point of occurrence on this continent (2).
References: (1) D. F. Farr et al. Fungi on Plants and Plant Products in the United States. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 1989. (2) A. Sivanesan. Graminicolous Species of Bipolaris, Curvularia, Drechslera, Exserohilum and their Teleomorphs. Mycol. Pap. No. 158, CAB International Mycological Institute, Wallingford, U.K., 1987.