Powdery mildews are one of the most common diseases of plants growing in many nurseries, city parks, and home gardens in Turkey. Common zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.) is widely cultivated in Turkey for ornamental purposes. In September 2010, zinnia plants grown in Hatay, Turkey were found to be heavily infected with a powdery mildew. Pathogen mycelia and sporulation were observed as circular to irregular, white patches on both sides of the leaves and on stems and flower petals. As the disease progressed, infected leaves turned yellow and died. Hyphae were straight to wavy and 4 to 7 μm wide. Conidiophores arose from the upper part of the hyphae, measured 120 to 190 × 10 to 13 μm, were simple, and produced two to six immature conidia in chains with a sinuate edge, followed by two to three straight cells. Conidia were hyaline, ellipsoid to barrel-shaped, measured 25 to 42 × 14 to 22 μm (length/width ratio = 1.3 to 2.5), lacked distinct fibrosin bodies, and produced germ tubes on the perihilar position, with reticulate wrinkling of the outer walls. No chasmothecia were observed. The structures described above were typical of the Oidium subgenus Reticuloidium, anamorph of the genus Golovinomyces, and the fungus measurements were compatible with those of G. cichoracearum (DC.) V.P. Heluta described previously (1,3). To confirm the tentative identification based on morphological characteristics, molecular analysis of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA sequences from a representative material (MKU-ZK311077, duplicate KUS-F25655) was conducted. The complete ITS regions of rDNA were amplified using primers ITS5 and P3 as described by S. Takamatsu (4) and sequenced. The resulting sequence of 508 bp from MKU-ZK311077 was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. JN051414). A GenBank BLAST search using the current data revealed an exact match for several sequences of G. cichoracearum, including Australian and Korean powdery mildews on zinnia plants, with a 100% sequence similarity. Pathogenicity was confirmed through inoculation by gently pressing diseased leaves onto leaves of three healthy, potted zinnia plants. Three noninoculated plants served as controls. Plants were maintained in a greenhouse at 25°C. Inoculated plants developed signs and symptoms after 10 days, whereas the control plants remained healthy. The fungus present on the inoculated plants was morphologically identical to that originally observed on diseased plants. The powdery mildew infections of Z. elegans associated with G. cichoracearum are nearly circumglobal, including Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Oceania, and Western Asian localities like India, Nepal, Jordan, and Israel (1,2). The current work confirmed the occurrence of G. cichoracearum infecting Z. elegans in Turkey using detailed morphological and molecular analysis.
References: (1) U. Braun. Beih. Nova Hedw. 89:1, 1987. (2) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, ARS, USDA. Retrieved from http://nt.ars-grin.gov/fungaldatabases/, May 24, 2011. (3) M. J. Park et al. Plant Pathol. J. 27:85, 2011. (4) S. Takamatsu et al. Mycol. Res. 113:117, 2009.