N. Gunasinghe and
M. P. You, School of Plant Biology, Faculty Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia;
V. Lanoiselet, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Baron-Hay Court, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia, and School of Plant Biology, Faculty Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia;
N. Eyres, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Baron-Hay Court, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia; and
M. J. Barbetti, School of Plant Biology and The UWA Institute of Agriculture, Faculty Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Inspection of field plantings of diverse cruciferous species, mainly oilseed varieties sown for agronomic assessment at Crawley, (31.99°S, 115.82°E), Western Australia, in September 2012, indicated the occurrence of extensive leaf and stem colonization by powdery mildew at the late flowering stage, with whitish patches 3 to 4 cm in length on stems of Brassica campestris var. pekinensis, B. carinata, B. oleracea var. capitata, B. rapa, Eruca sativa, and E. vesicaria. These patches coalesced to form a dense, white, powdery layer. Infected leaves showed signs of early senescence. Pathogenicity was demonstrated from transferring field inoculum from the most susceptible variety by pressing diseased leaves onto leaves of the six potted plant species, and incubating plants in a moist chamber for 48 hours post-inoculation (hpi) in an air-conditioned glasshouse approximating 25°C. Signs of powdery mildew were evident by 7 days post-inoculation (dpi), and well developed symptoms by 10 dpi and as observed in the field. Uninoculated control plants did not develop powdery mildew. On all inoculated species, abundant conidia typical of those produced by Erysiphe cruciferarum were observed, matching the descriptions of conidia given by Purnell and Sivanesan (3), with cylindrical conidia typically borne singly or in short chains. Mycelia were amphigenous, in patches, often spreading to become effused. Conidiophores were 3 to 4 cells, unbranched, and foot cells cylindrical. Across all host species, conidia were mostly produced singly with overall mean measured lengths 19.7 to 35.4 μm (mean 26.9 μm), and measured widths 7.1 to 12.9 μm (mean 9.7 μm), from measurements taken on 200 conidia for each of the six different species. Spore sizes measured approximated those found for E. cruciferarum by Kaur et al. (1) on B. juncea in Western Australia (viz. 21.2 to 35.4 × 8.8 to 15.9 μm), but were smaller than those reported by Purnell and Sivanesan (3) (viz. 30 to 40 × 12 to 16 μm) or by Koike and Saenz (1) (viz. 35 to 50 × 12 to 21 μm). We confirmed a length-to-width ratio >2 (mean range 2.7 to 2.8 across all six species) as found by both Purnell and Sivanesan (3) and Koike and Saenz (2). Amplification of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS)1 and (ITS)2 regions flanking the 5.8S rRNA gene was carried out with universal primers ITS1 and ITS4 and PCR products from E. cruciferarum from B. oleracea var. capitata and B. rapa sequenced. BLAST analyses to compare sequences with those in GenBank showed a >99% nucleotide identity for E. cruciferarum. In Western Australia, E. cruciferarum has been recorded on B. napus var. napobrassica since 1971 (4), B. napus since 1986 (4), and on B. juncea since 2008 (1). In other regions of Australia, E. cruciferarum has been recorded on B. campestris, B. oleracea var. capitata, B. oleracea var. acephala, B. napus, B. napus var. naprobrassica, and B. rapa var. rapa. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first record of E. cruciferarum on B. campestris var. pekinensis, B. carinata, E. sativa, and E. vesicaria in Australia and on B. rapa and B. oleracea var. capitata in Western Australia. Powdery mildew epidemics on other brassicas in Western Australia are generally sporadic and it remains to be seen what the impact of this disease will be on these new host species.
References: (1) P. Kaur et al. Plant Dis. 92:650, 2008. (2) S. T. Koike and G. S. Saenz. Plant Dis. 81:1093, 1997. (3) T. J. Purnell and A. Sivanesan. No. 251 in IMI Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria, 1970. (4) R. G. Shivas. J. Royal Soc. West. Aust. 72:1, 1989.