Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract Full Text

Fungal species associated with a severe decline of olive in southern Italy.

Abstract

A severe olive decline of unknown aetiology is currently under investigation in Apulia, (southern Italy). The decline affects mainly aged trees (100 years or older) growing in the Gallipoli bay, on an area extending ∼10 000 ha located on the western coast of the Salento peninsula. The disease is characterized by a rapid dieback of shoots, twigs and branches followed by death of the entire tree. Leaf tips and margins turn dark yellow to brown, a condition that spreads inward, eventually leading to desiccation. Numerous galleries of the leopard moth, Zeuzera pyrina, and bark beetles occurr on the trunks, branches and twigs of affected plants. Symptom analysis, morphometric characters and sequencing of ITS and β-tubulin gene regions revealed the presence of a number of fungi, Phaeoacremonium spp. in particular. P. parasiticum was the most frequent species, followed by P. rubrigenun, P. aleophilum and P. alvesii. Fungi belonging to the genus Phaeomoniella were also found. This is thought to be the first report of P. parasiticum and P. alvesii on olive in Italy.