A host specialized form of Ceratocystis fimbriata causes seed and seedling blight on native Carapa guianensis (Andiroba) in Amazonian rainforests.
Ceratocystis fimbriata Ellis & Halsted recently was recorded causing seed and seedling blight on Carapa guianensis Aubl. (andiroba), a tree species native to the Amazon Rainforest and prized for its valuable timber and medicinal seed oil. C. fimbriata more commonly causes wilt type diseases in woody hosts, especially on non-native host trees. However, on andiroba the disease occurs on seedlings and seeds, affecting the species regeneration. We studied 73 isolates of C. fimbriata on andiroba from three regions of the Amazon Basin to see if they represented natural or introduced populations. Analysis of ITS rDNA sequences and phylogenetic analysis of mating type genes revealed new haplotypes of C. fimbriata from the Latin American Clade that were closely related to other Brazilian populations of the fungus. In mating experiments, andiroba isolates were inter-fertile with tester strains of C. fimbriata from Brazil and elsewhere, confirming that they belong to a single biological species. Using microsatellite markers, 14 genotypes and populations with intermediate levels of genetic variability were found, suggesting that the fungus is indigenous to the Amazon Basin. Inoculation tests indicated that the andiroba isolates are host-specialized on andiroba, supporting the proposition of the special form C. fimbriata f. sp. carapa.