Taxonomy of the downy mildew pathogen Peronosclerospora sacchari

Taxonomy of the downy mildew pathogen Peronosclerospora sacchari

Collaborating Organisations

Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations




Taxonomy of the downy mildew pathogen Peronosclerospora sacchari

Start Date:


End Date:



All Australian sugarcane regions


The objectives of the proposed research include:-
1. To utilise biotechnological and traditional taxonomy to develop assays for different species and strains of Peronosclerospora.
2. To provide a resource for the proposed ACIAR-funded project for determining the distribution of species and strains of Peronosclerospora (sugarcane downy mildew pathogens) within the centre of origin of Saccharum officinarum (PNG- Irian Jaya)

Summary of Final Report

Downy mildew is an important sugarcane disease in Pacific-rim countries.  The disease has been present in Australia, but was eradicated in 1957.  There are several species of the pathogen P. spontanea,  It is important to know what variation in the pathogen occurs and the likely effect of this on the resistance of commercial varieties.  Funding was sought for research into the variation in


A PhD student studying at the University of Reading, UK, undertook molecular and traditional taxonomic research into fungi within this pathogen group.  Several issues arose during the course of the project that negatively affected project outcomes. Some significant outcomes were achieved, but these related less to specific species issues and more to relationships between fungi within the broader fungal group.


Outcomes were:

  • A major revision of the Peronosporomycetes group was proposed based on traditional and molecular techniques.

  • Certain molecular assays were shown to be useful in distinguishing genera and species within the Peronosporomycetes group.

  • Only one ); this affected sugarcane-related outcomes.

  • Using BSES isolates, the study confirmed the very close association of the sugarcane pathogens and

  • Fungi in the group should be called Peronosporomycetes, not Oomycetes, and considered true fungi.


Final Report
     BSS215 Final Report     182KB

For further information on this project, contact the organisation(s) listed above,
or SRDC at
The Industry Links page on this web site has useful contact details.


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