In autumn 2009, during a survey of powdery mildews of solanaceous plants in the United Kingdom, petunia (Petunia × hybrida) plants showing typical symptoms of powdery mildew infections were repeatedly collected in East Malling, Rochester, and Sandringham, UK. Leaves, stems, and petals of the collected plants, grown as outdoor ornamentals, were covered by dense, sporulating, white mycelium. Conidia were ellipsoid-cylindrical, measured 20 to 30 × 10 to 15 μm, and were produced in chains. Germ tubes arose from the ends of conidia and terminated in simple, unlobed apices. Some of the conidiophores were extremely long, up to 250 μm, because the second or third cell, or sometimes the foot cell, was up to 105 to 170 μm long. Other conidiophores were shorter, with no exceptionally long cells, but all of them exhibited a few characteristics in common: their width increased from base to top, sometimes enlarging considerably at a particular point of the foot cell, and basal septa were usually located 7 to 30 μm from the point of branching. Hyphal appressoria were nipple shaped. The teleomorph stage was not found. On the basis of these characteristics, the fungus was identified as Oidium longipes, a recently described (4) and little known pathogen of petunia and other solanaceous plants (1,3). To support the identification of this fungus, DNA was extracted from conidia collected with sterile brushes from single leaves collected in Sandringham, East Malling, and Rochester with a Qiagen DNeasy Plant Kit (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany), and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA was amplified and determined as described in Jankovics et al. (2). The three identical ITS sequences, deposited in GenBank under Accession Nos. HM156495, HM156496, and HM156497, were identical to several ITS sequences of O. longipes, such as AF250777, EU327324, and EU327325. This has also supported that the disease was caused by this species. Herbarium specimens were deposited under the Accession Nos. HAL 2373F, HAL 2374F, and HAL 2375F at the Herbarium of Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany. To our knowledge, this is the first report of O. longipes in the UK.
References: (1) A. Bolay. Cryptogam. Helv. 20:1, 2005. (2) T. Jankovics et al. Phytopathology 98:529, 2008. (3) L. Kiss et al. Plant Disease 92:818, 2008. (4) M. E. Noordeloos and W. M. Loerakker. Persoonia 14:51, 1989.