Eucalyptus spp. are among the most widely planted exotic trees in Ethiopia. Several damaging leaf pathogens are known from Eucalyptus spp. worldwide. Of these, Mycosphaerella spp. are among the most important, causing the disease known as Mycosphaerella leaf disease
(MLD). Characteristic symptoms of MLD include leaf spot, premature defoliation, shoot and twig dieback. Recent disease surveys conducted in Ethiopian Eucalyptus plantations have revealed disease symptoms similar to those caused by Mycosphaerella spp. These symptoms were restricted
to E. globulus trees growing in several localities in south, south western and western Ethiopia. The aim of this study was to identify the fungi associated with this disease. This was achieved by examining ascospore germination patterns, anamorph associations and sequence data from
the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region of the rRNA operon, for representative isolates. Several different ascospore germination patterns were observed, suggesting that more than one species of Mycosphaerella is responsible for MLD on E. globulus in Ethiopia. Analysis of
sequence data showed that three Mycosphaerella spp., M. marksii, M. nubilosa and M. parva were present. This is the first report of these three species from Ethiopia and represents a valuable basis on which to build further studies in the region.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP), Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.
Publication date: 2006-08-01