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It was found in greenhouse, home, and field-grown basil. The disease was first reported in Italy in 2004,  was reported in the U.S. in 2007 and 2008   and has been steadily increasing in prevalence, distribution, and economic importance since then. Basil downy mildew (BDM) is dispersed by air-borne spores from infected leaves and seeds. Basil Fungus. How To Recognize Basil Downy Mildew. The underside of a basil leaf with downy mildew. Downy mildew of basil caused by Peronospora belbahrii has been a huge problem for both commercial producers and home growers. Controlling Basil Downy Mildew When Growing Resistant Varieties The DM pathogen has the potential to evolve relatively quickly with the emergence of the sexual oospore, which has been reported in infected basil leaves in Italy and Israel. After a stretch of high humidity or rain, the symptoms became readily apparent. This disease was first detected in Florida in 2007. As you can see in the photo, above, formerly healthy green leaves developed yellow patches bordered by the main veins. Yes, there is resistance in some basil types, and the New Jersey researchers are trying to bring it into Genovese basil. Efforts to reduce its spread and severity had been thwarted by the absence of an effective seed treatment or chemical control method. In 2007, basil downy mildew (Peronospora belbahrii) was first identified in the U.S. By 2012, it was reported throughout the United States and into Canada. Basil downy mildew arrived in the U.S. (Florida) in 2007 and has been devastating Italian sweet basil crops in Maryland and other states ever since. Oospores increase the durability of the pathogen, allowing it to overwinter and potentially overcome chemical and genetic control. A. Beginning in 2008 there were a number of infections reported in the eastern US a nd has infected basil in subsequent years. After investigations into basil downy mildew began, a 2009 round of Rutgers field trials noted some lemon and spice types (Ocimum x citriodorum and O. americanum cultivars) were less affected than common sweet basils (O. basilicum). The disease (technically a water mold) can only survive on live basil plants so it does not overwinter outdoors in Maryland. Finding a viable, long-term, and economically sustainable solution to BDM has been a matter of great urgency for basil cultivators worldwide. Is this still the thinking? Spores can be carried for miles on the air, in plant tissue, or even in seeds. The condition worsens, as it infects more leaves and more stems. Basil downy mildew is a pathogen discovered in North America in the early 2000s, and it’s wreaking havoc on basil crops in dozens of states. Source: Starr Environmental. It’s believed that this form was an evolution of … Thought to have originated in Africa, this disease is problematic because it spreads extremely fast. The infection moves from southern states northward each summer. Unfortunately, like so many other plant diseases, this fungus-like growth can adapt and change over time. Leaf yellowing is the most noticeable symptom on basil infected with basil downy mildew. The basil looked fine one day, and the next morning it looked like this!
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