First Report of White Rust Caused by Albugo bliti on Seabeach Amaranth in the United States.Plant Dis. 2003 May; 87(5):602.PD
Seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus Raf.), a threatened annual marine plant, is a primary colonizer of the windward side of Atlantic coastal dunes. It serves an important ecological role in dune accumulation and stabilization. Because Hurricane Floyd eliminated all native seabeach amaranth in South Carolina in 1999, experimental reestablishment plantings have been attempted. In August 2000, seabeach amaranth on Dewees and Cape Island in Charleston County, Huntington Beach in Georgetown County, and Otter Island in Colleton County, South Carolina were stunted and senesced prematurely. Leaves on affected plants were only one-half of the normal size and internodes were shortened. Most plants (>90%) at each location were affected. Diseased leaves had small, pale green-to-tan spots above hypophyllous pustules that contained numerous, dry, hyaline, subglobose conidia. Conidia measured 13.5 (10 to 17) × 15.0 (11 to 18) μm. Based on morphological characters and the host, the pathogen was identified as Albugo bliti (Biv.-Bern.) Kuntze (1,2). No oospores were observed. Diseased plants were collected from Dewees and Otter Islands and kept frozen for use as a source of inoculum. Six A. pumilus plants each of six Plant Introductions (PI), 553080 through 553085, that had been grown from seed were sprayed with a suspension of 4.7 × 105 conidia per ml. One plant of each PI was sprayed with sterile distilled water as a noninoculated control. All plants were placed in a humidity chamber for 48 h and then moved to a greenhouse bench. Thirteen days after inoculation, all inoculated plants had pustules of white rust. Diseased plants had a mean of 42 pustules per plant and PI's did not differ in susceptibility. Five of six noninoculated plants also had white rust pustules, but only a mean of 2.3 (range 1 to 5) pustules each. White rust likely appeared on noninoculated plants because plants were spaced closely together in the chamber. Pustules and conidia on inoculated plants were identical to those on plants collected originally. Albugo bliti has been reported on 19 other Amaranthus species (1), but to our knowledge, this is the first report of white rust on seabeach amaranth in the United States. White rust reduced the biomass of infected plants and, hence, their ability to trap sand. White rust was not observed on subsequent plantings in 2001 and 2002 at any location. References: (1) D. F. Farr et al. Fungal Databases. Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, On-line publication. ARS USDA, 2002. (2) G. W. Wilson. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 34:61, 1907.