European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 150, Issue 4, pp 955–969 | Cite as

Occurrence of Puccinia spp. spores in Madeira Island and their phytopathological importance

  • Irene CamachoEmail author
  • Rubina Leça
  • Duarte Sardinha
  • Roberto Camacho
  • Magdalena Sadyś


The genus Puccinia represents rust infections, which are responsible for great productivity losses in crops of commercial and ornamental plants worldwide. This work is aimed at determining the occurrence of Puccinia spp. spores in Madeira Island in order to infer the exposure risks from a phytopathological point of view. A phytopathological analysis was performed in 203 local plant samples between January 2003 and December 2012. During the same period the airborne concentrations of rust spores were monitored following well-established guidelines. Aerobiological data was compared with meteorological records. Based on macro and microscopic analyses, five species of rusts were identified: P. horiana, P. buxi, P. porri, P. pelargonii-zonalis, and P. sorghi, and they were found mostly in spring and summer. A total of 20 samples out of 203 analysed plants (9.8%), were infected with Puccinia spores, i.e., P. horiana (5.9%), P. buxi (1.47%), P. porri and P. pelargonii-zonalis (0.98%), and P. sorghi (0.5%). During the studied period Puccinia spores attained an annual average concentration of 126 spores m−3 and most of them were recorded between March and October. Meteorological factors were determinant in fluctuations in spore concentration. Relative humidity was the parameter that favoured the biggest release and dispersal of the rust spores, whereas rainfall revealed a significant negative effect. Rusts do not represent an important plant pathogen in Madeira Island, as shown by the low infection frequencies and levels of airborne spore concentrations.


Rust Inoculum detection Infection conditions Aerobiology Portugal 



The authors are grateful to the Portuguese Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SPAIC) for the help and support in the aerobiological study and the Institute of Ocean and Atmosphere (IPMA) - Regional Station in Funchal for providing the meteorological data. Special thanks go to the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, USA, for providing selected images of rust species.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Camacho
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rubina Leça
    • 2
  • Duarte Sardinha
    • 2
  • Roberto Camacho
    • 1
  • Magdalena Sadyś
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesMadeira University, Campus Universitário da PenteadaFunchalPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratório de Qualidade Agrícola da CamachaCamachaPortugal
  3. 3.Rothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK

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