Tropical Plant Pathology

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 368–374 | Cite as

Cercospora zeina is the main species causing gray leaf spot in southern and central Brazilian maize regions

  • Danilo L. Neves
  • Cleiltan N. Silva
  • Carolina B. Pereira
  • Hercules D. Campos
  • Dauri J. TessmannEmail author
Original Article


Maize (Zea mays) fields from a tropical central (Goiás state) and a subtropical south region (Paraná state) of Brazil were surveyed for Cercospora species causing gray leaf spot (GLS), a foliar fungal disease of increasing concern to growers of the country. Single spore isolates were obtained from maize leaves showing GLS symptoms and species-specific primers were used for species identification. In addition, a phylogeny of isolates representative of each species was conducted based on partial DNA sequencing of the EF1-α, CAL, and HIS genes, and ITS-5.8S rDNA region. In the regional collections, Cercospora zeina was the dominant species in Goiás (68/75 isolates) and Paraná (73/75 isolates), followed by C. zeae-maydis and C. sorghi var. maydis, respectively. In three field collections of both states, C. zeina was the sole species found. The phylogenetic characterization of isolates representing C. zeina (n = 18), C. zeae-maydis (n = 6), and C. sorghi var. maydis (n = 2) confirmed the identity of the species and grouped them in well-supported clades.


Corn Fungi Phylogeny Cercosporiosis 



This work was supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq); National Council for the Improvement of Higher Education (CAPES); and Araucaria Foundation of Parana State Government (Fundação Araucária), Brazil.


  1. Brunelli KR, Dunkle LD, Sobrinho CA, Fazza AC, Camargo LE (2008) Molecular variability in the maize grey leaf spot pathogens in Brazil. Genet Mol Biol 31:938–942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carbone I, Kohn LM (1999) A method for designing primer sets for speciation studies in filamentous ascomycetes. Mycologia 91:553–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carson ML (1999) Gray leaf spot. In: White DG (ed) Compendium of corn diseases, 3rd edn. American Phytopathological Society Press, St Paul, pp 22–23Google Scholar
  4. Carson ML, Goodman MM (2006) Pathogenicity, aggressiveness, and virulence of three species of Cercospora associated with gray leaf spot of maize. Maydica 51:89–92Google Scholar
  5. Crous PW, Groenewald JZ, Risede JM, Hywel-Jones NL (2004) Calonectria species and their Cylindrocladium anamorphs: species with sphaeropedunculate vesicles. Stud Mycol 50:415–430Google Scholar
  6. Crous PW, Groenewald JZ, Groenewald M, Caldwell P, Braun U, Harrington TC (2006) Species of Cercospora associated with grey leaf spot of maize. Stud Mycol 55:189–197PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Doyle JJ, Doyle JL (1987) A rapid DNA isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochemistry Bull 19:11–15Google Scholar
  8. Dunkle LD, Levy M (2000) Genetic relatedness of African and United States populations of Cercospora zeae-maydis. Phytopathology 90:486–490CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Goodwin SB, Dunkle LD, Zismann VL (2001) Phylogenetic analysis of Cercospora and Mycosphaerella based on the internal transcribed spacer region of ribosomal DNA. Phytopathology 91:648–658CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Groenewald JZ, Groenewald M, Braun U, Crous PW (2010) Cercospora speciation and host range. In: Lartey RT, Weilan JJ, Panella L, Crous PW (eds) Cercospora leaf spot of sugar beet and related species. American Phytopathological Society Press, St Paul, pp 21–37Google Scholar
  11. Groenewald JZ, Nakashima C, Nishikawa J, Shin HD, Park H, Jama AN, Groenewald M, Braun U, Crous PW (2012) Species concepts in Cercospora: spotting the weeds among the roses. Stud Mycol 75:115–170PubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hall T (1999) BioEdit: a user-friendly biological sequence alignment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT. Nucleic Acids Symp Ser 41:95–98Google Scholar
  13. Kinyua ZM, Smith JJ, Kibata GN, Simons SA, Langat BC (2010) Status of grey leaf spot disease in Kenyan maize production ecosystems. Afr Crop Sci J 18:183–194Google Scholar
  14. Liu KJ, Xu XD (2013) First report of gray leaf spot of maize caused by Cercospora zeina in China. Plant Dis 97:1656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mathioni SM, Carvalho RV, Brunelli KRB, Beló A, Camargo LEA (2006) Aggressiveness between genetic groups I and II of isolates of Cercospora zeae-maydis. Sci Agric 63:547–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meisel B, Korsman J, Kloppers FJ, Berger DK (2009) Cercospora zeina is the causal agent of grey leaf spot disease of maize in Southern Africa. Eur J Plant Pathol 124:577–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Okori P, Fahleson J, Rubaihayo PR, Adipala E, Dixelius C (2003) Assessment of genetic variation among East African Cercospora zeae-maydis. Afr Crop Sci J 11:75–85Google Scholar
  18. Shim WB, Dunkle DL (2005) Malazy, a degenerate, species-specific transposable element in Cercospora zeae-maydis. Mycologia 97:349–355CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Swofford DL (2003) PAUP*. Phylogenetic analysis using parsimony (*and other methods). Version 4. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  20. Wang J, Levy M, Dunkle LD (1998) Sibling species of Cercospora associated with gray leaf spot of maize. Phytopathology 88:1269–1275CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Ward JMJ, Stromberg EL, Nowell DC, Nutter FW Jr (1999) Gray leaf spot: a disease of global importance in maize production. Plant Dis 83:884–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. White TJ, Bruns T, Lee S, Taylor J (1990) Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for phylogenetics. In: Innis MA, Gelfand DH, Sninsky JJ, White TJ (eds) PCR protocols: a guide to methods and applications. Academic, San Diego, pp 315–322Google Scholar
  23. Zhu X, Reid LM, Woldemariam T, Tenuta A, Schaafsma AW (2002) First report of gray leaf spot caused by Cercospora zeae-maydis on corn in Ontario, Canada. Plant Dis 86:327–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Sociedade Brasileira de Fitopatologia 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danilo L. Neves
    • 1
  • Cleiltan N. Silva
    • 1
  • Carolina B. Pereira
    • 1
  • Hercules D. Campos
    • 2
  • Dauri J. Tessmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de AgronomiaUniversidade Estadual de MaringáMaringáBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade de Rio VerdeRio VerdeBrazil

Personalised recommendations