Renuka N. Attanayake, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman;
Dean A. Glawe, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University and College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle; and
Frank M. Dugan and
Weidong Chen, USDA-ARS, Washington State University, Pullman
The taxonomy of the powdery mildew fungus infecting lentil in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of the United States was investigated on the basis of morphology and rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences. Anamorphic characters were in close agreement with descriptions of Erysiphe trifolii. However, teleomorphs formed chasmothecial appendages with highly branched apices, whereas E. trifolii has been described as producing flexuous or sometimes loosely branched appendages. Branched appendages have been described in Erysiphe diffusa, a fungus reported from species of Lens, Glycine, and Sophora, raising the possibility that the PNW fungus could be E. diffusa. Examination of morphological characters of an authentic specimen of E. trifolii from Austria determined that it included chasmothecial appendages resembling those seen in PNW specimens. Furthermore, ITS sequences from five powdery mildew samples collected from lentils in PNW greenhouses and fields from 2006 to 2008 were identical to one another, and exhibited higher similarity to sequences of E. trifolii (99%) than to those of any other Erysiphe spp. available in GenBank. Parsimony analysis grouped the lentil powdery mildew into a clade with Erysiphe baeumleri, E. trifolii, and E. trifolii--like Oidium sp., but indicated a more distant relationship to E. diffusa. In greenhouse inoculation studies, the lentil powdery mildew fungus did not infect soybean genotypes known to be susceptible to E. diffusa. The pathogenicity of E. trifolii on lentil was confirmed using modified Koch's postulates. This is the first report of E. trifolii infecting lentil. E. diffusa and E. trifolii have different host ranges, so the discovery of E. trifolii on lentil has implications both for determining species of powdery mildews on cool-season grain legumes, and in disease management.