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The 4th IUFRO International Rusts of Forest Trees Working Party Conference, Florence, Italy 3rd – 6th May 2010
The 4th IUFRO Rusts of Forest Trees Working Party Conference was held at Instituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche (ISMA) Viale dell’ Aeronautica, Florence, Italy from 3-6 May, 2010. I received my travel documents from the Italian Consulate on the evening of 1st May 2010 only with persistent requests from Prof. Salvatore Moricca. Because of the delayed visa clearance and disruption due to volcanic ash I was forced to reschedule my entire travel plan but despite this I managed to reach Florence on the 3rd May.
On the 3rd May a “Welcome aperitif” was arranged at the Spedale degli Innocenti, Santissima Annuziata Square, in the old city centre of Florence which was near to my hotel so I could walk through the lanes of the old city centre to the venue. The Spedale degli Innocenti dates back to 15th century and is a masterpiece of the Rennaisance. This was designed by the famous architect Brunelleschi who also designed the Cupola of the Cathedral of Florence. Prof. Salvatore Moricca welcomed the attendees and there was a good gathering where I could meet Prof. Hamelin, Dr. Rahayu, Dr. Samilis, Dr. Pascal Frey, Ms. Vialle and others and talk informally. It was a pleasant evening with soothing music in attendance.
On 4th May the scientific sessions started at Aula Fougier, Instituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche, Cascine Park which is about 150 meters from the Faculty of Agriculture. This is an elegant building having very long corridors which was erected in 1930s.
Welcome addresses were made by Prof. Guiseppe Surico, Dean of the Faculty and Prof. Gian Pietro Cellerino from the Italian Academy of Forest Sciences, University of Turin. The programme started with a key note lecture on “Trends in tree rust research” by Prof.
Richard Hamelin. He highlighted the progress made in tree rust research in the past four years with special reference to the genome sequencing of the Populus-Larix rust Melampsora larici -populina, the first tree rust pathogen whose complete genome was sequencing.
The first session was on phylogeny. Ms. A. Vialle made an excellent presentation on phylogenetic species delimitation of Melampsora sps on Poplars. She undertook DNA sequencing of 18 Melampsora sps infecting the genus Populus including M. populnea complex.
This study was based on critical evaluation of over 100 herbarium specimens including some Type specimens and based on her studies she revised the taxonomy of Poplar Melampsoras particularly the Melampsora populnea complex. My presentation was first in the session on distribution. I gave a talk on “The diversity of rust fungi infecting various forest trees in India”. A detailed morphological account , taxonomy, host range and distribution of several important genera viz. Chaconia, Cronartium, Kernkampella, Kuehneola, Maravalia, Masseeella, Melamspora, Phakopsora, etc. were presented.
Dr. Maresii made a presentation on the occurrance of Melamsporidium hiratsukanum on Alnus incana in the Campelle valley, Trentino, Northern Italy. Regular monitoring of the incidence of the rust from 2008 to 2009, and its epidemic spread in the Italian Alpine region was discussed. Dr. Maier presented on the incidence of a rust on Eucalyptus plantations in several localities of Maputo Niassa provinces of Mozambique and Kwazulu, Natal in South Africa. Critical evaluation of morphological characters and molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed it to be distinct from Puccina psidii a common rust fungus known to infect Eucalyptus and Psidium spp. An account of Uromycladium tapperianum infecting Falcataria moluccana an important and valuable tree species of Indonesia was presented by Dr. S. Rahaye. She gave an account of Teliospore germination, process of infection, anatomical changes in the infected cells etc. In addition papers were presented on various aspects including evolution, epidemiology, axenic culture and alternate hosts.
In the evening a social dinner was arranged at Fiaschetteria illatini a restaurant located in a small lane of Vigna Nuova. It is a small crowded popular restaurant offering Tuscan Cuisine. I thoroughly enjoyed the old time charm, the ambiance and the company. The conference was well organized and everything went smoothly. Arrangements were good and the hospitality was refreshing. I congratulate and compliment Prof.
Salvatore Moricca, Prof. Richard Hamelin and Dr. Pascal Frey. Though over 40 scientists from 11 countries attended this conference I was the lone participant from India. As the participants were limited there was enough space and time for discussion and the exchange of ideas. My sincere thanks to BSPP for the travel award.
Dr. G. Bagyanarayana Osmania University, India