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Datasheet

Ceratocystis fimbriata
(Ceratocystis blight)

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Datasheet

Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ceratocystis fimbriata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Ceratocystis blight
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Fungi
  •     Phylum: Ascomycota
  •       Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
  •         Class: Sordariomycetes
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • The literature suggests that introduced populations of C. fimbriata have thus far remained restricted to particular cultivated hosts. This is probably due to the relatively narrow host range of the introduced strains (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); mycelial mat of C. fimbriata  on the cut end of a Theobroma cacao branch.
TitleMycelial mat on Theobroma cacao
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); mycelial mat of C. fimbriata on the cut end of a Theobroma cacao branch.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); mycelial mat of C. fimbriata  on the cut end of a Theobroma cacao branch.
Mycelial mat on Theobroma cacaoCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); mycelial mat of C. fimbriata on the cut end of a Theobroma cacao branch.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); cross-sections of two infected stems of Platanus, showing the characteristic staining caused by C. fimbriata.
TitleStaining
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); cross-sections of two infected stems of Platanus, showing the characteristic staining caused by C. fimbriata.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); cross-sections of two infected stems of Platanus, showing the characteristic staining caused by C. fimbriata.
StainingCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); cross-sections of two infected stems of Platanus, showing the characteristic staining caused by C. fimbriata.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); extruded frass from ambrosia beetles boring into infected Mangifera.
TitleAmbrosia beetle frass
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); extruded frass from ambrosia beetles boring into infected Mangifera.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); extruded frass from ambrosia beetles boring into infected Mangifera.
Ambrosia beetle frassCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); extruded frass from ambrosia beetles boring into infected Mangifera.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected wood of Theobroma and galleries made by ambrosia beetles.
TitleInfected Theobroma wood
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected wood of Theobroma and galleries made by ambrosia beetles.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected wood of Theobroma and galleries made by ambrosia beetles.
Infected Theobroma woodCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected wood of Theobroma and galleries made by ambrosia beetles.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected and declining coffee tree. Note the thinning crown.
TitleDeclining coffee tree
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected and declining coffee tree. Note the thinning crown.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected and declining coffee tree. Note the thinning crown.
Declining coffee treeCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); infected and declining coffee tree. Note the thinning crown.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); xylem discolouration in the base of an infected coffee tree.
TitleXylem discolouration
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); xylem discolouration in the base of an infected coffee tree.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); xylem discolouration in the base of an infected coffee tree.
Xylem discolourationCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); xylem discolouration in the base of an infected coffee tree.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); dying coppice sprouts of infected Platanus. Note leaf discolouration on some of the dying sprouts.
TitleDying Platanus coppice
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); dying coppice sprouts of infected Platanus. Note leaf discolouration on some of the dying sprouts.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); dying coppice sprouts of infected Platanus. Note leaf discolouration on some of the dying sprouts.
Dying Platanus coppiceCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); dying coppice sprouts of infected Platanus. Note leaf discolouration on some of the dying sprouts.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); ascospore mass, with the characteristic hat-shaped brim visible on some of the spores.
TitleAscospore mass
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); ascospore mass, with the characteristic hat-shaped brim visible on some of the spores.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); ascospore mass, with the characteristic hat-shaped brim visible on some of the spores.
Ascospore massCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); ascospore mass, with the characteristic hat-shaped brim visible on some of the spores.©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); chalara-type endoconidia and conidiophores, with the darker, thick-walled aleuroconidia typical of Thielaviopsis.
TitleEndoconidia and conidiophores
CaptionCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); chalara-type endoconidia and conidiophores, with the darker, thick-walled aleuroconidia typical of Thielaviopsis.
Copyright©Thomas C. Harrington
Ceratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); chalara-type endoconidia and conidiophores, with the darker, thick-walled aleuroconidia typical of Thielaviopsis.
Endoconidia and conidiophoresCeratocystis fimbriata (Ceratocystis blight); chalara-type endoconidia and conidiophores, with the darker, thick-walled aleuroconidia typical of Thielaviopsis.©Thomas C. Harrington

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ceratocystis fimbriata Ellis & Halst.

Preferred Common Name

  • Ceratocystis blight

Other Scientific Names

  • Ceratostomella fimbriata (Ellis & Halst.) J.A. Elliott
  • Endoconidiophora fimbriata (Ellis & Halst.) R.W. Davidson
  • Ophiostoma fimbriatum (Ellis & Halst.) Nannf.
  • Rostrella coffeae Zimm.
  • Sphaeronaema fimbriata (Ellis & Halst.) Sacc.

International Common Names

  • English: black cane rot of Syngonium; black canker of aspen; black rot of sunn hemp; black rot of sweet potato; black rot of taro; blight of mango; cacao wilt; canker of coffee; canker stain of plane tree; Ceratocystis canker; Ceratocystis wilt; Ceratostomella wilt; mallet canker; mallot wound canker; mango blight; mango wilt; mouldy rot of rubber; sweet potato black rot; target canker of aspen; wilt disease of cocoa
  • Spanish: llaga macana de cacao; mal de choroni de cacao; mal de machete; mal del machete de cacao; marchitez de chupones: cacao; muerte subita de citrus; necrosis del tronco del cacao; secamiento de los citricos
  • French: chancre colore du platane; fletrissement du cacaoyer; pourriture des saignees de l'hevea; tache chancreuse

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: seca da mangueira
  • Germany: Schwarzfäule: Süsskartoffel; Welke: Kaffee; Welke: Kakao

EPPO code

  • CERAFI (Ceratocystis fimbriata)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page The literature suggests that introduced populations of C. fimbriata have thus far remained restricted to particular cultivated hosts. This is probably due to the relatively narrow host range of the introduced strains (Walker et al., 1988; Johnson et al., 2002; Baker et al., 2003). However, there has been little attempt to see if the introduced populations have spread to other hosts. Some forms of the fungus, such as those occurring in Brazil, have relatively broad host ranges (Baker et al., 2003) and may potentially be more invasive if introduced to new ecosystems. The inefficiency of dispersal by insects may also limit the invasiveness of C. fimbriata.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Fungi
  •         Phylum: Ascomycota
  •             Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
  •                 Class: Sordariomycetes
  •                     Subclass: Hypocreomycetidae
  •                         Order: Microascales
  •                             Family: Ceratocystidaceae
  •                                 Genus: Ceratocystis
  •                                     Species: Ceratocystis fimbriata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page Ceratocystis fimbriata, the type species of the genus, was originally described on sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) in 1890 (Halsted, 1890). Saccardo (1892) transferred the species to Sphaeronaema, Elliott (1923) transferred it to Ceratostomella, Melin and Nannfeldt (1934) transferred it to Ophiostoma, and Davidson (1935) transferred it to Endoconidiophora. Placement in Ceratocystis has been accepted since 1950 (Bakshi, 1950).

A fungus attacking Coffea in Indonesia was described as Rostrella coffea (Zimmerman, 1900), and this species was later synonymized with C. fimbriata (Pontis, 1951), although no careful comparisons have been made. Walter et al. (1952) designated the pathogen attacking Platanus as a separate form on the basis of its purported host specificity; see separate datasheet on C. fimbriata f. platani. Another form, occurring on Acacia mearnsii and species of Protea in South Africa, is now considered a separate species, C. albofundus (Wingfield et al., 1996); it is probably native to southern Africa (Roux et al., 2000). C. variospora, found on Quercus and described by Davidson (1944), is similar to C. fimbriata (Hunt, 1956). Although Upadhyay (1981) considered C. variospora a synonym of C. fimbriata, it is probably a separate species. It is becoming increasingly apparent that C. fimbriata is a complex of many species, each with a unique host range and geographic distribution.

Description

Top of page C. fimbriata grows readily on most agar media. Mycelium is hyaline at first, later turning dark greenish-brown. Within a few days there are usually abundant conidiophores that produce chains of hyaline conidia, sometimes called endoconidia, characteristic of the anamorph genus Chalara. However, Chalara species are anamorphs of discomycetes, and the genus Thielaviopsis is now used for anamorphs of Ceratocystis species (Paulin et al., 2002). Endoconidia are cylindrical and may vary in size from 11 to 16 mm long by 4 to 5 mm wide (all measurements are from Hunt, 1956). Specialized conidiophores give rise to thick-walled, pigmented aleurioconidia (sometimes called chlamydospores), probably a survival spore. Aleurioconidia are typically 9-16 mm long and 6-13 mm wide, borne singly or in short chains. Endoconidia may also darken and become thick walled chlamydospores, thus resembling aleurioconidia. Endoconidia, chlamydospores formed from endoconidia, and aleurioconidia may be produced on and within the substratum.

The teleomorph of the fungus is well adapted to insect dispersal. The fungus has two mating types, and MAT-1 isolates can only produce perithecia when paired with MAT-2 isolates. However, MAT-2 isolates are self-fertile due to uni-directional mating type switching (Harrington and McNew, 1997; Witthuhn et al., 2000). Most field isolates are MAT-2 and self-fertile, producing many fruiting bodies (ascomata) on the surface of the host or in culture, often within one week. Ascomata are dark brown to black and globose, 130-200 µm diameter with a long, thin neck up to 800 µm long, through which the ascospores are exuded. The opening at the tip of the neck has 8 to 15 ostiolar hyphae ranging in length from 50 to 90 µm. Ascospores are small, hyaline and hat-shaped, 4.5-8 µm long by 2.5-5.5 µm wide, and accumulate in a sticky matrix at the tip of the ascomatal neck, where they appear as a cream to pink ball or coil.

Distribution

Top of page In addition to the published reports, the following specimens are held in the US National Fungus Collections: Mexico (BPI 596218 and 595433), St Vincent and Grenadines (BPI 596219), Massachusetts and Rhode Island, USA (BPI 595868 and 595867, respectively); and there is an accession from Suriname in the American Type Culture Collection (ATTC 14503). Confirmed isolates of C. fimbriata have also been collected from Iowa (on Carya cordiformis), Missouri (on Platanus occidentalis) and Wisconsin, USA (on C. cordiformis) (TC Harrington, Iowa State University, USA, unpublished data).

Several older reports of C. fimbriata (cited in CMI, 1983) may be erroneous but have been included in the listed distribution. The fungus has been reported as a saprobe on Hevea in Uganda (Snowden, 1926), and two reports have suggested it as a pathogen on Hevea in the Congo Democratic Republic (Ringoet, 1923; Anon., 1948). Unverified voucher specimens from Fagus and Larix in the UK are cited in CMI (1983), but Larix is a very unlikely host, and there are no confirmed reports of the fungus from the UK. The report of the fungus on Theobroma in the Philippines (Eloja and Gandia, 1963) was only a tentative identification.

Several unnamed forms of C. fimbriata appear to be indigenous to North and South America or Asia but have been introduced elsewhere. Different hosts are attacked in different regions, and even in regions where the fungus is common, not all potential hosts are attacked. For example, mango wilt is known only in Brazil, although Mangifera is grown in other areas where C. fimbriata is common on other plants. The Theobroma form is restricted to Central America and northern and eastern South America, while Coffea forms apparently occur only in Central America and northern South America and, perhaps, a few locations in South-East Asia (Zimmerman, 1900).

Because of the numerous cryptic species in the C. fimbriata complex and the history of human-mediated movement of host-specialized strains around the world (Baker et al., 2003), it is difficult to know which of the reports of C. fimbriata in specific countries are of native populations of C. fimbriata or of exotic populations. For some cases where there is clear evidence that the pathogen was introduced, such as on the ornamental cultivars of Syngonium (Walker et al., 1988), it appears that the fungus has been restricted to cultivated plants in nurseries or greenhouses. Otherwise, the introduced strains are considered to be invasive populations.

Note: IMI Herbarium, various dates, in the distribution table indicates records for which specimens are held in the herbarium at the International Mycological Institute (now CABI Bioscience). The herbarium also contains specimens from Honduras and Australia.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroduced2000InvasiveRoux et al. (2000)
Côte d'IvoirePresent, LocalizedDAVET (1962); EPPO (2020)
GhanaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
SeychellesPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
South AfricaPresent, LocalizedRoux et al. (2000); EPPO (2020)
UgandaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2001InvasiveRoux et al. (2001); EPPO (2020)

Asia

BruneiPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
CambodiaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
ChinaPresent, LocalizedNativeSY (1956); EPPO (2020)
-FujianPresentHu FangPing et al. (1999)
-SichuanPresentXu et al. (2011)
-YunnanPresentHuang et al. (2008); Li et al. (2014); Li et al. (2014a); Li et al. (2016)
IndiaPresent, LocalizedKaushik and Toky (1992); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated); Herb IMI (Undated)
-Andhra PradeshPresentSomasekhara (2006)
-KarnatakaPresentSomasekhara (1999)
-MaharashtraPresentSomasekhara and Wali (2000)
IndonesiaPresent, LocalizedWright (1925); Tayler and Stephens (1929); EPPO (2020)
-JavaPresentZimmerman (1900); South and Sharples (1925); Leefmans (1934)
-SumatraPresentTayler and Stephens (1929)
JapanPresent, LocalizedAsuyama (1938); Shimizu (1939); Okamoto (1940); EPPO (2020)
-KyushuPresentNativeKato et al. (1982); Kajitani and Kudo (1993)
MalaysiaPresent, LocalizedSouth and Sharples (1925); Beeley (1929); EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
MyanmarPresent, LocalizedTurner and Myint (1980); EPPO (2020)
North KoreaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
OmanPresentWyk et al. (2005)
PakistanPresentFateh et al. (2006); CABI (Undated)
PhilippinesPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
South KoreaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
TaiwanPresent, LocalizedLee ChunYee and Kuo KerChung (1997); EPPO (2020)
ThailandPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
VietnamPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)

Europe

FrancePresent, LocalizedIntroduced1974InvasiveVigouroux (1986); Grosclaude et al. (1991); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated);
ItalyPresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasivePanconesi (1981); Panconesi (1999); EPPO (2020)First reported: 1940s
PolandPresentIntroduced1977Przybył (1980); Przybyl (1986); CABI (Undated)
PortugalPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2014); EPPO (2020)
-AzoresPresentIntroducedBensaude (1927); EPPO (2020)
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced1986InvasiveMatasci and Gessler (1997); CABI (Undated)
United KingdomAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)

North America

CanadaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
-British ColumbiaPresentNativeLowe (1969); Hinds (1985)
-ManitobaPresentNativeZALASKY (1965)
-QuebecPresentNativeVujanovic et al. (1999); CABI (Undated)
-SaskatchewanPresentNativeZALASKY (1965)
-YukonPresentNativeHinds (1985)
Costa RicaPresent, LocalizedNativeMartin (1949); ECHANDI and SEGALL (1956); Siller (1958); EPPO (2020)
CubaPresent, LocalizedNativeRodriguez T. and Alfonso H. (1978); Herrera Isla and Grillo Ravelo (1989); Martín Triana and Alvárez Díaz (1989); EPPO (2020)
Dominican RepublicPresent, LocalizedSchieber (1969); EPPO (2020)
El SalvadorPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
GrenadaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
GuatemalaPresent, LocalizedNativeSZKOLNIK (1951); SCHIEBER and SOSA (1960); Tejada (1983); EPPO (2020)
HaitiPresent, LocalizedBarker (1926); EPPO (2020)
HondurasAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)Herb IMI (Undated)
JamaicaPresent, LocalizedNativeLEATHER (1966); EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
MexicoPresent, LocalizedNativeMARTIN (1947); EPPO (2020)
NicaraguaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
PanamaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
Puerto RicoPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
Saint LuciaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
Trinidad and TobagoPresent, LocalizedBriant (1932); Baker (1936); Leach (1946); Baker and Dale (1951); Iton (1959); EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
United StatesPresent, WidespreadNativeEPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
-AlaskaPresentNativeHinds and Laurent (1978)
-ArizonaPresentNativeHINDS (1972)
-ArkansasPresentNativeMcCracken and Burkhardt (1977)
-CaliforniaPresentNativeDavis (1953); DeVay et al. (1968); Hinds (1985); Perry and McCain (1988)
-ColoradoPresentNativeHINDS (1972)
-DelawarePresentNativeMOOK (1940); Walter (1946)
-District of ColumbiaPresentNativeWALTER et al. (1952)
-FloridaPresentNativeAlfieri et al. (1994)
-HawaiiPresentNativeUchida and Aragaki (1979); EPPO (2020)
-IdahoPresentNativeHinds (1985)
-KentuckyPresentNativeMOOK (1940)
-LouisianaPresentNativeWEBSTER and BUTLER (1967); Baker et al. (2003)
-MarylandPresentNativeDODGE (1940)
-MassachusettsPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: Herb. BPI
-MinnesotaPresentNativeWOOD and FRENCH (1963); Hinds and Anderson (1970)
-MississippiPresentNativeWalter (1946)
-MontanaPresentNativeHinds (1985)
-NevadaPresentNativeHinds (1985)
-New JerseyPresentNativeDODGE (1940); Walter (1946)
-New MexicoPresentNativeHINDS (1972)
-New YorkPresentNativeWalter (1946)
-North CarolinaPresentNativeWalter (1946)
-North DakotaPresentNativeHinds (1985)
-OregonPresentNativeHinds (1985)
-PennsylvaniaPresentNativeJackson and Sleeth (1935); DODGE (1940); Walter (1946); WEBSTER and BUTLER (1967)
-Rhode IslandPresentNativeCABI (Undated)Original citation: Herb. BPI
-South DakotaPresentNativeHinds (1985)
-TennesseePresentNativeMOOK (1940); Walter (1946)
-UtahPresentNativeHINDS (1972)
-VirginiaPresentNativeWalter (1946); WEBSTER and BUTLER (1967)
-West VirginiaPresentNativeWalter (1946)
-WyomingPresentNativeHINDS (1972)

Oceania

American SamoaPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)
AustraliaPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-New South WalesPresent, LocalizedIntroducedWalker et al. (1988)
-QueenslandPresent, LocalizedIntroducedWalker et al. (1988)
-South AustraliaPresent, LocalizedIntroducedVogelzang and Scott (1990)
-VictoriaPresent, LocalizedIntroducedWalker et al. (1988)
FijiPresent, LocalizedGraham (1965); Firman (1972); Walker et al. (1988); EPPO (2020)
New ZealandPresent, LocalizedSLADE (1960); Baker et al. (2003); EPPO (2020)
Papua New GuineaPresent, LocalizedMANN (1953); Walker et al. (1988); Baker et al. (2003); EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
SamoaPresent, LocalizedWalker et al. (1988); EPPO (2020)
Solomon IslandsPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020)

South America

BrazilPresent, LocalizedNativeEPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
-BahiaPresent, LocalizedNativePereira and Santos (1986); Bezerra (1997); Firmino et al. (2013)
-GoiasPresentMelo Filho et al. (2002)
-Mato GrossoPresentFirmino et al. (2012)
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeMÜLLER (1937); CHARDON et al. (1940); Melo et al. (2016)
-ParaPresentNativeDeslandes (1944); Albuquerque et al. (1972); Muchovej et al. (1978)
-PernambucoPresent, LocalizedNativeBatista (1947); Batista (1960); Upadhyay (1981)
-PiauiPresentViana and Silva (2001)
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeBaker et al. (2003); Carvalho and Carmo (2003)
-Rio Grande do SulPresentSantos and Ferreira (2003)
-RondoniaPresentNativeBastos and Evans (1978)
-Sao PauloPresent, WidespreadNativeArruda (1940); Oliveira (1966); Valarini and Tokeshi (1980); Silveira et al. (1985); Ribeiro et al. (1987); Firmino et al. (2015)
ColombiaPresent, WidespreadNativeGarces (1944); PONTIS and VIDELA] (1951); Arbelaez (1957); Mourichon (1994); Borja et al. (1995); Marin et al. (2003); EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)
EcuadorPresent, LocalizedNativeRorer (1918); Desrosiers and Diaz (1956); Desrosiers (1957); Chalmers (1969); EPPO (2020)
GuyanaPresent, LocalizedBisessar (1965); EPPO (2020)
PeruPresent, LocalizedRada (1939); Krug and Quartey-Papafio (1964); Soberanis et al. (1999); EPPO (2020)
SurinamePresent, LocalizedNativeBaker et al. (2003); EPPO (2020)
UruguayPresentBarnes et al. (2003)
VenezuelaPresent, WidespreadNativePONTIS and VIDELA] (1951); Malaguti (1952); MALAGUTI (1952a); Reyes (1988); EPPO (2020); Herb IMI (Undated)

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page The Populus form is most abundant in North America, but it has also appeared in Poland and perhaps India, most probably from recent introductions. Cuttings of various Populus species and hybrids were brought into Poland from North America in the 1970s, and C. fimbriata may have been introduced to Poland in these cuttings. Cuttings of P. balsamifera have been shown to harbour the fungus in nurseries in Quebec, Canada (Vujanovic et al., 1999). The disease was severe in experimental plantings in Poland (Gremmen and de Kam, 1977; Przybyl, 1980, 1986); however, the disease appears to have lessened in importance in recent years and may no longer be present.

The pathogen on Platanus species, f. platani, is believed to be specialized to that genus and was probably introduced to Naples, Italy, during World War II on colonized crating material or dunnage from the USA (Panconesi, 1981, 1999; Santini and Capretti, 2000; Baker et al., 2003). The pathogen has spread throughout northern Italy (Pancosi 1981, 1999) to Switzerland in 1986 (Matasci and Gessler, 1997) and to southern France (Ferrari and Pichenot, 1974, 1976, 1979; Vigouroux, 1986; Grosclaude et al., 1991b).

The cacao form of the pathogen may have been introduced to the state of Bahia in Brazil on infected cuttings of Theobroma cacao (Harrington, 2000; Baker et al., 2003). The recent reports of the eucalyptus form of the pathogen in Uganda and the Congo may also be due to introductions on cuttings from Brazil (Roux et al., 2000, 2001a; Baker et al., 2003).

The Syngonium form of the pathogen has been dispersed on cuttings of this plant and has been reported in greenhouses in California, Florida, Hawaii and Australia (Davis, 1953; Uchida and Aragaki, 1979; Walker et al., 1988; Alfieri et al., 1994).

The Ipomoea form of the fungus has probably been spread to many locations on storage roots. For example, the report of C. fimbriata in the Azores (Bensaude, 1927) was on experimental plantings of Ipomoea germplasm imported from the Caribbean. The Ipomoea form is apparently native to Latin America and/or the Caribbean (Baker et al., 2003).

Risk of Introduction

Top of page As most forms of C. fimbriata are easily transmitted in cuttings, unrestricted movement of cuttings or other propagative material is potentially dangerous. It is likely that the fungus has been spread to new countries or regions on cuttings of Populus, Theobroma, Eucalyptus and Syngonium and on storage roots of Ipomoea. Circumstantial evidence points to packing materials as the source of the plane tree pathogen in southern Europe, and the fungus is known to survive for up to 5 years in wood, probably in the form of aleurioconidia. C. fimbriata is listed as among the highest risk pathogens that could be imported into the USA on eucalyptus logs and chips from South America (Kliejunas et al., 2001). The Platanus form (C. fimbriata f. platani) is listed as an EPPO A2 quarantine pest (OEPP/EPPO, 1986).

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page A wide variety of annual and perennial plants are attacked by C. fimbriata. There are several apparently host-specialized strains that are sometimes called 'types', 'races' or 'forms' (Wellman, 1972; Harrington, 2000; Baker et al., 2003), and many of these may prove to be distinct species. Webster and Butler (1967a) considered such types as members of a single, highly variable species. However, isolates from some hosts and some regions are genetically unique (Santini and Capretti, 2000; Barnes et al., 2001; Johnson et al., 2002; Baker et al., 2003; Marin et al., 2003). Harrington (2000) proposed that the cryptic species within the C. fimbriata complex fall into three broad geographic clades: the North American, the Latin American and the Asian clades. Both rDNA and alloenzyme analyses support these three major clades (Harrington, 2000; Johnson et al., 2002; Baker et al., 2003).

Cross-inoculation studies have established the host-specificity of some of these types. For example, isolates from Mangifera (Ribeiro and Coral, 1968), Ipomoea, Platanus, Gmelina, Coffea, Xanthosoma, Eucalyptus (Baker et al., 2003), Crotalaria, Cajanus and Acacia (Coral et al., 1984) did not infect Theobroma. Isolates from Ipomoea and Colocasia were host-specific when inoculated to these two hosts (Mizukami, 1951), as were isolates from Hevea and Ipomoea (Olson and Martin, 1949), and Coffea and Ipomoea (Pontis, 1951). Isolates from Coffea, Prunus, Theobroma, Quercus and Colocasia failed to infect Ipomoea (Kojima and Uritani, 1976). Isolates from Platanus, Prunus (almond and apricot), Mangifera, Xanthosoma, Gmelina, Eucalyptus and Theobroma were not pathogenic to Ipomoea, and isolates from Ipomoea, Prunus (almond and apricot), Platanus, Coffea, Mangifera, Xanthosoma, Gmelina, Eucalyptus and Theobroma were not pathogenic to Platanus (Crone, 1963; Baker et al., 2003). Costa Rican isolates from Theobroma, Coffea and Xanthosoma were specialized to their respective hosts (Baker et al., 2003). Among Brazilian isolates from various hosts, only a Gmelina isolate could infect Gmelina (Baker et al., 2003). A Syngonium isolate from Australia infected various cultivars of Syngonium, other Araceae and Crotolaria, but not Platanus, Prunus spp., or Ipomoea (Vogelzang and Scott, 1990). Each host-specific type of C. fimbriata appears to have a distinct geographic distribution, although the total number of types and the geographic and host boundaries of each of them have not been fully determined.

Several recorded host plants for C. fimbriata are not included in the listing because they have not been confirmed. Some of these are probably erroneous reports, including the reports of C. fimbriata on soyabean (Glycine max), tobacco (Nicotiana species), potato (Solanum tuberosum), chestnut (Castanea sativa), cucumber (Cucumis sativa), kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), coconut (Cocos nucifera), pineapple (Ananas comosus) and yam (Dioscorea species). There is also considerable confusion over the scientific and common names of edible members of the Araceae (for example, Xanthosoma, Colocasia and Alocasia), and it is not always clear which of these genera are referred to in the various reports.

Laboratory experiments have demonstrated C. fimbriata infection of Caladium, Dieffenbachia (Vogelzang and Scott, 1990) and several wild Ipomoea species (Clark and Watson, 1983) that have not been recorded as hosts in nature.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Acacia decurrens (green wattle)FabaceaeMain
Acacia mangium (brown salwood)FabaceaeMain
Acacia mearnsii (black wattle)FabaceaeMain
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius (shingle tree)FabaceaeOther
AlocasiaAraceaeMain
Alocasia macrorrhizos (giant taro)AraceaeOther
AnnonaAnnonaceaeMain
Annona squamosa (sugar apple)AnnonaceaeMain
Arracacia xanthorrhiza (arracacha)ApiaceaeOther
Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)FabaceaeMain
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)JuglandaceaeMain
Cassia javanica (pink shower)FabaceaeMain
CitrusRutaceaeMain
Citrus aurantium (sour orange)RutaceaeMain
Coffea (coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Coffea canephora (robusta coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Colocasia esculenta (taro)AraceaeMain
Crotalaria juncea (sunn hemp)FabaceaeMain
Daucus carota (carrot)ApiaceaeMain
Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)RosaceaeOther
Erythrina spp.FabaceaeMain
EucalyptusMyrtaceaeMain
Fagus (beeches)FagaceaeMain
Ficus carica (common fig)MoraceaeMain
Gmelina arborea (candahar)LamiaceaeMain
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeMain
Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeMain
Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeOther
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeMain
Manihot esculenta (cassava)EuphorbiaceaeMain
MetroxylonArecaceaeMain
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit)PassifloraceaeOther
Pimenta dioica (allspice)MyrtaceaeMain
Populus (poplars)SalicaceaeMain
Prunus (stone fruit)RosaceaeMain
Prunus armeniaca (apricot)RosaceaeMain
Prunus dulcis (almond)RosaceaeMain
Punica granatum (pomegranate)PunicaceaeMain
Spathodea campanulata (African tulip tree)BignoniaceaeMain
Syngonium auritumAraceaeMain
Syngonium podophyllum (arrowhead vine)AraceaeMain
Tectona grandis (teak)LamiaceaeOther
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)MalvaceaeMain
Theobroma grandiflorum (cupuassu)MalvaceaeOther
Xanthosoma (cocoyam)AraceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Symptoms

Top of page C. fimbriata is primarily a xylem pathogen. On trees (Theobroma, Mangifera, Prunus, etc.), infection typically occurs through fresh wounds (Giraldo, 1957; Viégas, 1960; Moller et al., 1969), although root infections are also common (Ribeiro et al., 1986; Rossetto and Ribeiro, 1990; Laia et al., 2000). Mycelium and spores enter wounds and move through the xylem in water-conducting cells and into ray parenchyma cells. The fungus causes dark reddish-brown to purple to deep-brown or black staining in the xylem. This staining may extend several metres from the roots, up the trunk of the tree, and into branches. When affected branches or trunks are cut in cross-section, the staining along the rays gives a distinctive wedge-shaped or starburst-like pattern (Sinclair et al., 1987). On the surface of the trunk or branches, cankers may develop over areas of xylem discoloration, and the cankers may exude gum. Branch and trunk cankers are particularly common on Populus, Prunus, Platanus (Sinclair et al., 1987) and Eucalyptus (Laia et al., 2000), though wilting may also occur in the absence of canker development. Wilted leaves typically become dry and curled rather suddenly but remain attached to the tree for several weeks. On Platanus, individual leaves of affected branches often show interveinal chlorosis and necrosis, perhaps associated with fungal-produced phytotoxins (Ake et al., 1992; Alami et al., 1998; Pazzagli et al., 1999).

Infection of many trees (Theobroma, Mangifera, Punica and others) is often accompanied by secondary attack by various ambrosia beetles (such as Xyleborus and Hypocryphalus species), which bore into the xylem of the diseased trunk and produce copious amounts of frass (wood particles mixed with faeces) (Iton, 1959, 1960; Rossetto and de Medeiros, 1967; Somasekhara, 1999). Frass may cling to the gallery entrance holes in long strands or accumulate on the bark or at the base of the tree. Aleurioconidia may be present in such frass and may be an important source of inoculum. Frass containing C. fimbriata may be dispersed by wind or rainsplash.

On rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis), C. fimbriata attacks the tapping panel, causing a pale-grey mould on the surface of the panel and dark discoloration in the wood under the surface (Martin, 1949; Silveira et al., 1994).

On herbaceous plants (Colocasia, Ipomoea, etc.), C. fimbriata may attack through wounded roots or stems, causing a root rot or seedling rot, or it can travel through the xylem, causing rapid wilting of the plant and extensive dark discoloration of the vascular system. It may also occur as a black, sunken rot on the surface of storage roots or corms of Ipomoea and Araceae such as Colocasia and Xanthosoma, either before or after harvest (Clark and Moyer, 1988).

The fungus has also been reported as a superficial pathogen of harvested cocoa pods, causing soft, brown, rotted lesions (Malaguti, 1958), especially during rainy periods (Siller, 1958). However, a related fungus, Ceratocystis paradoxa, is more common on rotten cocoa pods, most probably as a secondary invader (Thorold, 1975).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / lesions: black or brown
Fruit / lesions: on pods
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / necrotic areas
Leaves / wilting
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Roots / cortex with lesions
Stems / canker on woody stem
Stems / dieback
Stems / discoloration
Stems / discoloration of bark
Stems / gummosis or resinosis
Stems / internal discoloration
Stems / internal feeding
Stems / mould growth on lesion
Stems / mycelium present
Stems / ooze
Stems / visible frass
Stems / wilt
Whole plant / frass visible
Whole plant / plant dead; dieback
Whole plant / seedling blight
Whole plant / wilt

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Although outcrossing is possible, most isolates are self-fertile due to unidirectional mating type switching (Webster and Butler, 1967a, b; Harrington and McNew, 1997; Witthuhn et al., 2000). Fruiting bodies (perithecia) are produced from the mycelium in culture in about a week. The fungus may be dispersed as fragments of mycelium, conidia, aleurioconidia or ascospores. Aleurioconidia are probably the most common survival units because they are thick-walled and durable, and they probably facilitate survival in soil (Accordi, 1989) and in insect frass (Iton, 1960). The fungus may survive in wood fragments in river water (Grosclaude et al., 1991a) and in the soil (Accordi, 1989) for at least 3 months in the winter. C. fimbriata produces a strong fruity odour that varies with the medium. This has been assumed to be an adaptation for dispersal by insects, which are attracted to diseased plants and can become covered with sticky spores if the fungus is sporulating (see Means of Movement and Dispersal).

Wounds, either natural or from human activities, are important infection courts for all members of the genus Ceratocystis, including C. fimbriata. Inoculum may reach an open wound by being blown in the wind in insect frass (Iton, 1960) or by being carried by insects that visit the wound. Nitidulid beetles that feed on fungi and plant sap may be important vectors (Moller and DeVay, 1968b). Cultivation practices such as pruning may also provide infection courts (Teviotdale and Harper, 1991).

C. fimbriata usually grows best at temperatures from 18 to 28°C and is able to produce ascospores within a week. The fungus probably survives adverse conditions as mycelium within the plant host, or as aleurioconidia in the soil or in plant hosts or debris. The disease in Theobroma has been thought to be most severe during periods of abiotic stresses, particularly drought stress (Spence, 1958), or excessive rain (Malaguti, 1952a). On Ipomoea, attack by C. fimbriata may be enhanced by boron deficiency in the soil (Hu et al., 1999).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Natural Dispersal

The fungus spreads readily between adjacent Platanus trees via root grafts (Accordi, 1986). It may also infect Platanus trees through wounds in the roots (Vigouroux and Stojadinovic, 1990). Mangifera trees may be infected through the roots from soilborne inoculum (Rossetto and Ribeiro, 1990), and root crops such as Ipomoea are commonly infected through wounds made by insects and rodents (Clark and Moyer, 1988). Ascopores are probably spread naturally by insects and are not likely to be airborne. Airborne dispersal of conidia is also not likely, except in insect frass. Rainsplash dispersal of conidia has not been documented.

Vector Transmission

Many Ceratocystis species produce fruiting bodies and fruity aromas that are believed to be adaptations for dispersal by insects, and C. fimbriata is frequently associated with insects. On Populus (Hinds, 1972b) and Prunus (Moller and DeVay, 1968b), circumstantial evidence suggests that fungal-feeding nitidulid beetles acquire the fungus and visit fresh wounds on susceptible trees. Also, spores of C. fimbriata may be carried upon the bodies of ambrosia beetles (Iton, 1966), and the spores can survive passage through an insect gut (Iton, 1960, 1966; Crone, 1963).

Ambrosia beetles (especially Xyleborus and Hypocryphalus species) are attracted to diseased plants (such as Theobroma, Mangifera and Eucalyptus) and produce large amounts of fine wood shavings (frass) when creating breeding galleries in the trunk and branches (Goitia and Rosales, 2001). These wood shavings and faecal material are pushed outside the tree as the galleries are excavated, and the frass contains spores and fragments of mycelium that may be blown in the wind (Iton, 1960).

Seedborne Spread

No instances of spread of C. fimbriata on or with seed have been reported. However, one specimen in the US National Fungus Collections (BPI 596218) of an Erythrina seed pod has many fruiting bodies of C. fimbriata, suggesting that seedborne spread is possible.

Agricultural Practices

Pruning wounds are common entry points for C. fimbriata, and the fungus can be carried on machetes or pruning tools (Walter, 1946, 1952; Teviotdale and Harper, 1991). Platanus street trees may become infected through pruning wounds, and the fungus may be spread on pruning tools or in wound dressings (Walter, 1946). Indeed, proper sanitation and disinfecting tools played a major role in stopping the epidemic on plane trees in urban areas of the eastern USA in the 1920s to 1940s (Walter, 1952). Infected wood and sawdust may harbour viable spores for at least 5 years (Grosclaude et al., 1995). On Theobroma, wounds made by harvesting pods, removing stem sprouts or weeding may become infected (Malaguti, 1958), and the fungus also infects pruning wounds and wounds made in harvesting almond fruit (Teviotdale and Harper, 1991).

As there may be extensive mycelial growth within a plant before symptoms appear, propagative cuttings may be an effective method of dispersal. Apparently healthy propagative cuttings of Populus were found to be infested with C. fimbriata (Vujanovic et al., 1999). BPI specimen 595645, of propagative material from Costa Rica intercepted in Miami, Florida, USA, contains several Manihot cuttings with abundant perithecia at the nodes. Infected Syngonium cuttings were the apparent means of spread of the Syngonium form of the fungus throughout the greenhouse industry (Walker et al., 1988). The fungus has also been found in both symptomatic and apparently healthy Eucalyptus cuttings in a Brazilian Eucalyptus plantation (CJ Baker, Iowa State University, USA, personal observation). Cuttings, roots and corms are used to propagate many other common hosts of C. fimbriata, including Theobroma, Ipomoea and Colocasia, and this may facilitate long-distance transport of the fungus. The Ipomoea form of the fungus, which is probably native to Latin America, is probably spread on storage roots (Bensaude, 1927; Baker et al., 2003).

Movement in Trade

It is apparent that several host-specialized forms of the fungus have been introduced into many regions. Propagative materials, especially cuttings, are a likely source. Packaging material and dunnage are also likely means of dispersal of the fungus. The Platanus form may have been introduced on packing material to Europe from North America during World War II (Panconesi, 1981, 1999) and has caused substantial damage to ornamental Platanus in southern Europe. This form can survive in Platanus wood taken from diseased trees (Grosclaude et al., 1995), which may be an efficient means of introducing the pathogen to new locations.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Containers and packaging - woodWood used in packaging or dunnage. Yes
Soil, sand and gravelWater from infested soil. Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bark fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Fruits (inc. pods) fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Growing medium accompanying plants fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Leaves fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Roots fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Wood fruiting bodies; hyphae; spores Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
True seeds (inc. grain)

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transportTimber typeUsed as packing
Solid wood packing material with bark Platanus spp. Yes
Solid wood packing material without bark Platanus spp. Yes
Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Non-wood
Processed or treated wood

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products Negative
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations Negative
Transport/travel None

Impact

Top of page Diseases caused by C. fimbriata can be of high local importance, and there is a history of sporadic epidemics. The disease in Theobroma has been of major importance in Costa Rica (Echandi and Segall, 1956), Trinidad and Tobago (Iton, 1959), Ecuador (Desrosiers, 1957), parts of Colombia (Arbelaez, 1957) and Venezuela (Reyes, 1988), and most recently in Bahia, Brazil (Bezerra, 1997). In Theobroma plantations, the fungus has killed as many as 50% of the trees in some locations (Idrobo, 1958). The disease in Coffea is particularly important in Colombia (Pontis, 1951), where citrus is another major economic host (Borja et al., 1995). The disease in Mangifera in São Paulo, Brazil is of major importance (Oliveira, 1966; Ribeiro and Coral, 1968; Rossetto et al., 1969; Yamashiro and Myazaki, 1985; Rossetto and Ribeiro, 1990; Ribeiro et al., 1995). The fungus has also decimated certain clones of Eucalyptus in plantations in Brazil, and recent reports of the disease in Eucalyptus in the Congo and Uganda have indicated serious levels of mortality (Roux et al., 2000, 2001a). Almonds in California, USA, particularly in older orchards, have been seriously affected by the disease, especially after the initial introduction of mechanical shakers, which severely wounded the trees and led to more infections (DeVay et al., 1968). Platanus plantings in Italy, France and Switzerland are also seriously affected, and over 10% of the London plane trees in southern Switzerland have been killed since the early 1980s (Matasci and Gessler, 1997). More than 87% of plane trees (Platanus acerifolia) were lost during the period 1926-1949 in the community of Gloucester, New Jersey, the earliest recognized epidemic on plane tree in the USA (Walter et al., 1952). By 1952, they had estimated losses in excess of $1,000,000 (in 1952 dollars) in the north-east. Loss from Ceratocystis wilt on Punica in the Bijapur district of India from 1995 to 1998 was estimated at 7.5% of the crop (Somasekhara, 1999). Although damage from the Ipomoea form is now less severe in south-eastern USA than previously, mostly due to the use of resistant varieties and sanitary measures, it remains an important constraint to Ipomoea production in China and Japan (Clark and Moyer, 1988).

Environmental Impact

Top of page C. fimbriata is probably a natural component of many forest ecosystems in the Americas and Asia. On native tree hosts it primarily colonizes wounds but does not move throughout the tree or kill the host. Most mortality of woody hosts appears to be on exotic tree species or native trees in plantations or used as street trees, perhaps because of wounding and movement of the pathogen on tools. The plane tree pathogen, for instance, has been devastating on street trees but is rare in natural forests with little human activity (Walter et al., 1952). Even where the fungus has been introduced, the damage is primarily to planted species. Thus, the impact in natural environments has been minimal. However, some plantation species have been abandoned in some regions, such as Gmelina arborea in Pará state in Brazil and Platanus in the south-eastern USA.

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page There has been no clear impact of C. fimbriata on biodiversity.

Social Impact

Top of page Platanus species, especially P. acerifolia (London plane) is a very common street tree in many regions of the world, especially in the eastern USA and southern Europe. The loss of plane trees in Italy and southern France due to C. fimbriata has been dramatic, thus seriously reducing the aesthetics of urban areas. Earlier epidemics in urban areas of the eastern USA also had severe impact, though sanitation practices have greatly reduced the impact of the disease since the 1940s (Walter et al., 1952).

Diagnosis

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Pure cultures of C. fimbriata may be obtained by placing chips of discoloured wood from the base of an infected tree or diseased vegetative plant parts in a moist chamber or plating them out on nutrient agar. When the fungus is present, conidia appear in 1-3 days and perithecia in 5-10 days. The presence of fast-growing contaminants, such as Fusarium and Penicillium, may necessitate the use of baits. The Platanus form may be baited from wood, soil or water samples with healthy Platanus twigs stripped of their bark (Grosclaude et al., 1988). All forms of the fungus may be baited from infected plant material by placing a small piece of colonized plant material between two slices of fresh carrot in high humidity for 4-10 days (Moller and DeVay, 1968a). Carrot slices may also be used to bait the fungus from soil (Laia et al., 2000), although carrot is not completely species-specific, allowing the growth of C. moniliformis, Thielaviopsis basicola (Yarwood, 1946), Fusarium spp. and some bacteria. The fungus can also be isolated from the frass of ambrosia beetles (Xyleborus and Hypocryphalus species) in Mangifera, Theobroma and Eucalyptus by using the carrot slice technique.

Molecular or serological diagnostic techniques have not been developed, but there are DNA sequences of ITS-rDNA and other genes unique to C. fimbriata and these could be developed for diagnosis.

A diagnostic protocol is detailed in OEPP (2003).

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Disease caused by C. fimbriata may be visible on cuttings or other plant material as dark discoloration of the xylem, although symptomless cuttings may still be infected. Ascomata may also occasionally be produced on the surface of stem cuttings, particularly at the nodes. On Ipomoea storage roots and Araceae corms, the fungus may appear as a dry, black rot, usually with perithecia and ascospores. Incubation of colonized plant parts in a humid environment will usually result in ascomata production in only a few days. Unless perithecia are present on the infected plant, a pure culture of the fungus is usually required for reliable identification.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page C. fimbriata is usually recognized by its distinctive fruiting bodies, which are somewhat similar to those produced by other species of Ceratocystis and species of Ophiostoma. Ophiostoma species, in contrast to Ceratocystis, do not produce the endoconidial or aleurioconidial states. C. fimbriata has sometimes been confused with Ceratocystis paradoxa, a pathogen of mostly monocotyledonous plants. Both C. paradoxa and C. fimbriata may produce a pod rot of cocoa, although C. fimbriata can be distinguished by its hat-shaped ascospores (Hunt, 1956). Most forms of C. paradoxa are heterothallic, and isolates of this species usually do not produce perithecia unless paired with isolates of the opposite mating type.

On Theobroma trees, C. fimbriata may be confused with Ceratocystis moniliformis, which is weakly pathogenic, usually causing only partial wilting or wilting of only a few branches (Barba and Hansen, 1962). In the laboratory, C. moniliformis grows much more quickly on nutrient agar than does C. fimbriata, and when viewed under a compound microscope, the perithecial bases of C. moniliformis have characteristic spine-like ornamentations (Hunt, 1956). Also, C. moniliformis does not produce aleurioconidia. However, C. moniliformis produces hat-shaped ascospores similar to those of C. fimbriata.

Ceratocystis albofundus is morpholocially very similar to C. fimbriata but can be distinguished by its hyaline perithecial bases (Wingfield et al., 1996). Thus far, C. albofundus has only been reported from Africa (Roux et al., 2001b).

Infection by many other wilt-type fungi and species of Botryosphaeria may cause xylem discoloration in trees, and it is necessary to isolate C. fimbriata from the discoloured xylem or canker in order to confirm it as the causal agent.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Host-Plant Resistance

Host-plant resistance has been used successfully with Mangifera (Ribeiro et al., 1984, 1986, 1995; Rossetto et al., 1997), Theobroma (Desrosiers, 1956; Delgado and Echandi, 1965; Gardella et al., 1982; Ocampo et al., 1982; Simmonds, 1994), Ipomoea (Martin, 1954), Coffea (Castilla, 1982) and Crotalaria (Ribeiro et al., 1977). Species and varieties of citrus also vary in susceptibility to Colombian strains of the fungus (Paez-Redondo and Castano-Zapata, 2001).

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

Sanitation is also effective for disease control. For example, disinfecting machetes and pruning tools between plants may help control the disease in Platanus (Walter, 1946; Walter et al., 1952) and Prunus (Teviotdale and Harper, 1991). Heat treatment of Ipomoea roots used in propagation has been suggested (Daines et al., 1962).

Chemical Control

Fungicides are used with some success to treat tapping panels of Hevea (Chee, 1970) and in Ipomoea fields (Martin, 1971) or as post-harvest dips of Ipomoea roots (Daines, 1971; Yang et al., 2000). Fungicides injected into the stems of Platanus species may provide some protection (Causin et al., 1995; Minervini et al., 2001). Fungicides are also used to control the disease in Ficus (Hirota et al., 1984).

Biological Control

No biological control methods currently exist.

References

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Accordi SM, 1986. Spread of Ceratocystis fimbriata f. platani through root anastomoses. Informatore Fitopatologico, 36(11):53-58

Accordi SM, 1989. The survival of Ceratocystis fimbriata f.sp. platani in the soil. Informatore Fitopatologico, 39(5):57-62

Ake S; Darbon H; Grillet L; Lambert C, 1992. Fimbriatan, a protein from Ceratocystis fimbriata. Phytochemistry, 31(4):1199-1202

Alami I; Mari S; ClTrivet A, 1998. A glycoprotein from Ceratocystis fimbriata f.sp. platani triggers phytoalexin synthesis in Platanus x acerifolia cell-suspension cultures. Phytochemistry, 48(5):771-776; 26 ref.

Albuquerque FC; Duarte MLR; Silva; HM, 1972. OcorrOncia do mofo cinzento (Ceratocystis fimbriata) da seringueira. In: Seminario Nacional de Seringueira, Cuiabß, MT, Brazil, 25-128.

Alfieri SA; Langdon KR; Kimbrough JW; El-Gholl NE; Wehlburg C, 1994. Diseases and disorders of plants in Florida. Florida Department of Agriculture and Conservation Services Bulletin, 14.

Anon., 1948. Rapport annuel pour l'exercice 1947. Congo belge: Publ. Inst. Nat. +tude agron.

Anon., 1965. Annual report of the forest entomology and pathology branch, Canada Department of Forestry, for the year ended March 31, 1965.

Anon., 1988. Outbreaks and new records. Switzerland. Ceratocystis fimbriata f. sp. platani. FAO Plant Protection Bulletin, 6:47.

Arbelaez GE, 1957. La llaga macana del tronco del cacao. Acta Agron=mica, Palmira, 7:71-103.

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