Fungi in foliage and shoots of Fraxinus excelsior in eastern Ukraine: a first report on Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus.
In eastern Ukraine, the first symptoms of dieback on common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) were observed in 2010, as sparse flushing of leaves, bark necrosis and wood discoloration of shoots. The aim of this study was to assess possible causal agents of the damage by studying fungal communities in both symptomatic and healthy-looking shoots, and leaf petioles. Field sampling was carried out in 2010 in Kharkiv and Sumy regions in eastern Ukraine and included 68 segments of symptomatic shoots, 68 segments of healthy-looking shoots and 240 segments of petioles. DNA isolation from individual segments and direct sequencing of fungal ITS rRNA resulted in 430 fungal sequences representing 29 distinct taxa. Results showed that Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus - the primary causal agent of ash dieback in Europe - was present at low proportion (5.6%) in symptomatic shoots. Other more frequently detected fungi were Epicoccum nigrum, Venturia fraxini, Colletotrichum truncatum, Aureobasidium pullulans, Alternaria alternata, Alternaria sp. and Lophiostoma corticola. In conclusion, the study reports on the first incidence of ash decline in the Ukraine and other possible causal agents of damage which may help to evaluate and forecast the future situation with F. excelsior stands in the region.