Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Belle Glade 33430
Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701
Downy mildew, caused by Peronospora farinosa f. sp. spinaciae, is an economically important disease in most areas where spinach is grown. This disease has become increasingly important in production fields for prepackaged salad mixes where plant densities typically are very high. In Florida, spinach production for these markets has reached approximately 200 ha. Currently, seven physiological races of the downy mildew pathogen have been described (1). Downy mildew was observed in several commercial spinach fields in the Everglades agricultural area of Palm Beach County, Florida in January 2003 on cvs. Unipak 151 and Merlo Nero. Symptoms appeared as chlorotic and necrotic leaf spots. Disease incidence reached approximately 25% in some field locations. Economic losses were significant, since entire plantings in several fields were not harvested as a result of diminished quality. The race of a field isolate recovered from the cv. Unipak 151 was determined following greenhouse inoculation procedures and using differentials outlined by Irish et al (1). Greenhouse inoculation tests were conducted twice. Disease reactions on a U.S. and international set of differentials indicated that the isolate was race 5. To our knowledge, this is the first report of race 5 occurring outside of the California/Arizona spinach production area in the United States. There are commercial spinach lines with resistance to race 5, as well as the other described races (1).
References: (1) B. M. Irish et al. Plant Dis. 87:567, 2003.