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A serious new wilt disease of Eucalyptus caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata in Central Africa

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In a recent survey of Eucalyptus clones in the Republic of Congo, Central Africa, a serious wilt and die-back disease of two different hybrid clones was observed. Affected trees ranged in age from approximately 6months to 4years. Isolations from symptomatic plant material consistently yielded a Ceratocystis species. On the basis of morphology and sequence data this fungus was identified as Ceratocystis fimbriata, a well-known wilt and canker pathogen of many economically important plants. The Eucalyptus isolates were compared with other Ceratocystis spp. based on sequence data generated from the ITS and 5.8S region of the rRNA operon. The results confirmed the identity of the Ceratocystis isolates from Eucalyptus as C. fimbriata and showed that they group with other C. fimbriata isolates from Brazil, South Africa and Europe. Inoculations on young Eucalyptus plants were conducted in the greenhouse and all three of the Congolese isolates tested, produced typical lesions in the bark and xylem. This study represents the first report of C. fimbriata as a pathogen of Eucalyptus in Africa. This is a serious new disease that will require considerable study in order to ensure that losses, caused by C. fimbriata, do not continue.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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