New host and country records of the Dothistroma needle blight pathogens from Europe and Asia.
Dothistroma needle blight (DNB) is a serious disease of pines (Pinus spp.), with a worldwide distribution. It is caused by the ascomycete fungi Dothistroma septosporum (teleomorph: Mycosphaerella pini) and Dothistroma pini (teleomorph unknown). Recently, DNB was found on Pinus peuce in Austria, Pinus pallasiana in Ukraine and the European part of south-western Russia, as well as on Pinus radiata and Pinus wallichiana in Bhutan. Based on DNA sequence comparisons of the internal transcribed spacer and β-tubulin gene regions, isolates from Austria and Bhutan were identified as D. septosporum, while isolates from Ukraine and south-western Russia were identified as D. pini. Additional isolates studied from Pinus mugo in Hungary confirmed the presence of D. septosporum in this country. The record of D. septosporum on exotic P. peuce in Austria represents a new host report of this needle blight pathogen in Europe. Likewise, DNB and the associated pathogen, D. septosporum are reported from Bhutan, eastern Himalayas, for the first time. In addition, D. pini was found in two European countries and on a new host, P. pallasiana. These European records represent the only reports of D. pini from outside the north-central USA. Morphological examination of selected specimens from different hosts and countries showed that D. septosporum and D. pini overlap in the length of their conidia, while the width is slightly wider in D. pini than in D. septosporum. The differences in conidial width are so small, however, that identification of the two Dothistroma species solely based on morphology is virtually impossible. The new host and country records provided here are consistent with the continuing trend of reports of the DNB pathogens from new hosts and new geographical areas during the last two decades, particularly in the northern hemisphere.