L. J. Dallagnol,
F. R. de Castro,
G. Frare, and
L. E. A. Camargo, Escola Superior de Agricultura “Luiz de Queiroz”, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Pádua Dias, 11, 13418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil. Current address for L. J. Dallagnol, Faculdade de Agronomia Eliseu Maciel - Universidade Federal de Pelotas, 96010-900, Pelotas, RS, Brazil
Flamboyant (Delonix regia) is an ornamental tree that is native to Madagascar and frequently used in gardens and parks worldwide. Powdery mildew was observed on flamboyant plants in the cities of Piracicaba and São Carlos (State of São Paulo, Brazil) during the springs of 2010 and 2011. All sampled plants (~15 plants) were affected by the disease. Affected plants had abundant, white powdery masses of conidia and mycelium on floral buds that is typical of powdery mildew, but these structures were not observed on leaves and petioles. Diseased buds were observed at all developmental stages. The fungus was identified as Erysiphe quercicola on the basis of scanning electron microscopy, light microscopy, and sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Conidia were produced in short chains of four to five spores on erect conidiophores. Conidiophores were unbranched, cylindrical, 50 to 80 μm long (mean 68.8 ± 10.8 μm), composed of a cylindrical foot cell 25 to 40 μm long (mean 32.2 ± 4.9 μm), and one to two shorter cells. Conidia were ellipsoid-ovoid to subcylindrical, 22 to 37 μm long (mean 30.9 ± 4.4 μm), and 10 to 18 μm wide (mean 15.1 ± 2.8 μm). Germ tubes were produced apically and ended in a lobed appressorium. Colonizing hyphae also had a well-developed lobed appressorium. Chasmothecia were not observed on buds. DNA was extracted from conidia, conidiophores, and mycelium and used to amplify the ITS (ITS1-5.8s-ITS2) region using the ITS1 and ITS4 primers (2) and its sequence (612 nt) was deposited under Accession No. JQ034229 in the GenBank. Searches with the BLASTn algorithm revealed 100% similarity with E. quercicola from oak (Accession Nos. AB292693.1, AB292691.1, and AB292690.1) (1). To fulfill Koch's postulates, 10 detached young floral buds, 0.4 to 0.8 cm in diameter, were inoculated with five to eight conidia collected on floral buds using an eyelash brush. Inoculated buds were placed on moistened filter paper in petri dishes. The negative control consisted of noninoculated young floral buds. Inoculated and noninoculated buds were incubated in a growth chamber at 25°C and a 12-h photoperiod. Powdery mildew structures were observed 6 to 8 days after inoculation. To our knowledge, E. quercicola has not been reported previously as a pathogen of flamboyant tree since there is no record in the Erysipahales database (http://erysiphales.wsu.edu/). Although the economic impact of the disease is limited, its incidence might induce the abortion of floral buds and accelerate the senescence of flowers, thus reducing the aesthetic value of the trees.
References: (1) S. Takamatsu et al. Mycol Res. 111:809, 2007. (2) T. J. White et al. PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. Academic Press, San Diego, 1990.