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Fungi associated with Eichhornia crassipes in South Africa and their pathogenicity under controlled conditions

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Eichhornia crassipes Mart. Solms-Laubach (Pontederiaceae), water hyacinth, continues to be the world's worst aquatic weed. In South Africa, considerable research has been conducted on biological control agents associated with water hyacinth, with the release of six arthropods and one fungus, but little is known about the occurrence and impacts of native phytopathogenic fungi. Nation-wide surveys were conducted in 2010 and 2011 on various aquatic bodies of South Africa to identify the fungal pathogens associated with water hyacinth. Diseased plant parts were collected and fungi were isolated and identified. Some 250 isolates belonging to more than 25 genera were collected. Some of these represent new host records, as well as undescribed taxa. Isolates of Acremonium zonatum (Sawada) Gams, Alternaria eichhorniae Nag Raj and Ponnappa, Bipolaris hawaiiensis (M.B. Ellis) Uchida and Aragaki, Fusarium Link, Myrothecium roridum Tode ex Fr. and Ulocladium sp., showed the highest pathogenicity and have the potential to be useful in complementing the ongoing biocontrol programme on water hyacinth in South Africa.

Keywords: biological control; mycoherbicides; plant pathogens; water hyacinth

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Zoology and Entomology,Rhodes University, PO Box 94Grahamstown,6140, South Africa

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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