Melampsoridium hiratsukanum is an alien rust fungus which has spread pervasively throughout several European countries following introduction into North Europe at the end of the 20th century. The authenticity of several records of the Melampsoridium species infecting alder (Alnus spp.) in the northern hemisphere is questionable, due to the misidentification and confusion that surround many of the older reports. Given this complicated taxonomic history, and since a M. hiratsukanum-like rust is strongly impacting Alnus incana stands in the Alps, probably affecting the bank protection role of this species along rivers, the unambiguous identification of this pathogen was a pressing epidemiological and ecological issue. In this study, field surveys, light (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and molecular characterization were put together in an attempt to solve the conundrum. Field monitoring data, LM and SEM analyses of key taxonomic traits (length of ostiolar cells of uredinium, uredinio-spore shape and size, spore echinulation, number and position of germ pores) and ITS-rDNA sequence-based identification, convergently and unambiguously connected the rust that is causing the current epidemic to the non-native M. hiratsukanum. We documented the completion of the M. hiratsukanum life cycle on its two taxonomically unrelated broadleaf/conifer hosts. This is the first report of M. hiratsukanum from naturally infected Larix decidua in Europe.

Moricca, S.; Benigno, A.; Longa, C.; Cacciola, S.O.; Maresi, G. (2021). First documentation of life cycle completion of the alien rust pathogen Melampsoridium hiratsukanum in the Eastern Alps proves its successful establishment in this mountain range. JOURNAL OF FUNGI, 7 (8): 617. doi: 10.3390/jof7080617 handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10449/69663

First documentation of life cycle completion of the alien rust pathogen Melampsoridium hiratsukanum in the Eastern Alps proves its successful establishment in this mountain range

Longa, C.;Maresi, G.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Melampsoridium hiratsukanum is an alien rust fungus which has spread pervasively throughout several European countries following introduction into North Europe at the end of the 20th century. The authenticity of several records of the Melampsoridium species infecting alder (Alnus spp.) in the northern hemisphere is questionable, due to the misidentification and confusion that surround many of the older reports. Given this complicated taxonomic history, and since a M. hiratsukanum-like rust is strongly impacting Alnus incana stands in the Alps, probably affecting the bank protection role of this species along rivers, the unambiguous identification of this pathogen was a pressing epidemiological and ecological issue. In this study, field surveys, light (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and molecular characterization were put together in an attempt to solve the conundrum. Field monitoring data, LM and SEM analyses of key taxonomic traits (length of ostiolar cells of uredinium, uredinio-spore shape and size, spore echinulation, number and position of germ pores) and ITS-rDNA sequence-based identification, convergently and unambiguously connected the rust that is causing the current epidemic to the non-native M. hiratsukanum. We documented the completion of the M. hiratsukanum life cycle on its two taxonomically unrelated broadleaf/conifer hosts. This is the first report of M. hiratsukanum from naturally infected Larix decidua in Europe.
Alder rust
Alnus incana
Larix decidua
Morphological and molecular characterization
Life cycle completion
Invasive pathogens
Disease surveillance
Settore AGR/12 - PATOLOGIA VEGETALE
Moricca, S.; Benigno, A.; Longa, C.; Cacciola, S.O.; Maresi, G. (2021). First documentation of life cycle completion of the alien rust pathogen Melampsoridium hiratsukanum in the Eastern Alps proves its successful establishment in this mountain range. JOURNAL OF FUNGI, 7 (8): 617. doi: 10.3390/jof7080617 handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10449/69663
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