In March 2013, papaya (Carica papaya L. cv. Sunrise) plants growing in polyethylene-film-covered greenhouses in Agricultural Research Center for Climate Change located in Jeju City, Korea, were observed severely affected by a powdery mildew. Symptoms appeared as circular to irregular white patches on both sides of the leaves. As the disease progressed, the plants were covered with dense masses of the spores, eventually causing senescence and withering of leaves. Voucher specimens were deposited in the Korea University Herbarium (KUS). Hyphae were flexuous to straight, branched, septate, and 5 to 8 μm wide. Conidiophores were 110 to 250 × 10 to 12.5 μm and produced 2 to 5 immature conidia in chains with a crenate outline followed by 2 to 3 cells. Foot-cells of conidiophores were straight, cylindric, slightly constricted at the basal septum, and 55 to 110 μm long. Conidia were hyaline, ellipsoid-ovoid, measured 22 to 38 × 18 to 21 μm with a length/width ratio of 1.2 to 1.8, and had distinct fibrosin bodies. Chasmothecia were scattered or partly clustered, dark brown, spherical, 80 to 100 μm in diameter, and each contained a single ascus. Appendages were mycelioid, 1- to 5-septate, brown at the base and becoming paler. Asci were sessile, 72 to 87 × 52 to 68 μm, had a terminal oculus of 17 to 23 μm wide, and contained 8 ascospores, each 17 to 23 × 12.5 to 15 μm. The morphological characteristics and measurements were consistent with those of Podosphaera xanthii (Castagne) U. Braun & Shishkoff (1). To confirm the identification, the complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA of KUS-F27269 was amplified with the primers ITS5/P3 and sequenced (3). The resulting 443 bp sequence was deposited in GenBank (Accession No. KF111806). The Korean isolate showed >99% similarity with those of many P. xanthii isolates including an isolate on papaya from Taiwan (GU358450). Pathogenicity was confirmed through inoculation tests by gently pressing a diseased leaf onto young leaves of three asymptomatic, potted seedlings (cv. Sunrise). Three non-inoculated seedlings were used as control. Inoculated plants were isolated from non-inoculated plants in separate rooms in a greenhouse at 26 to 30°C. Inoculated leaves developed symptoms after 7 days, whereas the control plants remained symptomless. The fungus present on the inoculated leaves was identical morphologically to that observed on the original diseased leaves, fulfilling Koch's postulates. Powdery mildews of papaya caused by Podosphaera species including P. caricae-papayae have been reported in North America, South America, Hawaii, Africa, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, India, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan (2,4). P. caricae-papayae is currently reduced to synonymy with P. xanthii (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of powdery mildew caused by P. xanthii on papaya in Korea. Though papaya is a minor crop in Korea, producing about 300 M/T annually in greenhouses, powdery mildew disease is a threat to safe production of the fruits.
References: (1) U. Braun and R. T. A. Cook. Taxonomic Manual of the Erysiphales (Powdery Mildews), CBS Biodiversity Series No. 11, CBS, Utrecht, 2012. (2) D. F. Farr and A. Y. Rossman. Fungal Databases. Syst. Mycol. Microbiol. Lab., Online publication, ARS, USDA, retrieved April 9, 2013. (3) S. Takamatsu et al. Mycol. Res. 113:117, 2009. (4) J. G. Tsay et al. Plant Dis. 95:1188, 2011.