Phellinus noxius (brown tea root disease)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Phellinus noxius (Corner) G. Cunn.
Preferred Common Name
- brown tea root disease
Other Scientific Names
- Fomes noxius Corner
International Common Names
- English: brown cocoa root rot; brown root rot; stem rot of Hevea spp.; stem rot of oil palm
Local Common Names
- Germany: Braune Wurzelfaeule
- PHELNO (Phellinus noxius)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Fungi
- Phylum: Basidiomycota
- Subphylum: Agaricomycotina
- Class: Agaricomycetes
- Subclass: Agaricomycetidae
- Order: Hymenochaetales
- Family: Hymenochaetaceae
- Genus: Phellinus
- Species: Phellinus noxius
DescriptionTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Distribution TableTop of page
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: 17 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Central African Republic||Present|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of the||Present|
|-New South Wales||Present|
|Federated States of Micronesia||Present|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Present|
|Papua New Guinea||Present|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Growth StagesTop of page
SymptomsTop of page
The most characteristic symptom of this disease is the brown encrustation covering the surface of the diseased roots. This consists of brown mycelium in which soil and small stones are firmly embedded. The fungus moves towards the collar of the tree and occasionally the encrustation may be visible above ground level. In the diseased wood, dark lines are visible due to the presence of the fungal hyphae. In advanced stages of decay, the wood becomes light, dry and friable and honeycombed. It is one of several fungi associated with heart or butt rots of forest and timber trees (Ivory, 1996).
Sporophores are very rare, large, hard purplish-brown bracts with yellowish-white growing margins and concentric blackish zones towards the edges. They are formed above ground on the encrustation on the trunk. Unlike other similar fungi, there are no rhizomorphs. Spread is by physical contact with the root encrustations.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Leaves / abnormal colours|
|Leaves / abnormal leaf fall|
|Leaves / wilting|
|Leaves / yellowed or dead|
|Roots / 'dirty' roots|
|Roots / soft rot of cortex|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
A study in Japan (Hattori et al., 1996) showed that clonal populations, indicative of vegetative spread, were common between adjacent trees and covered areas of 20 m² but clones varied over larger areas indicating multiple basidiospore infection. Long-term survival in soil is mainly through infected woody debris and 80-90% survival in soils of lower moisture content has been recorded (Chang, 1996).
The fungus is confined mainly to tropical areas. In Taiwan at the limit of the northern tropics it is found mostly at lower altitudes on sandier soils in the southern areas, but not in the north (Chang and Yang, 1998).
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes||fungi/hyphae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Roots||fungi/hyphae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||fungi/fruiting bodies; fungi/hyphae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
ImpactTop of page
DiagnosisTop of page
Field symptoms combined with the presence of encrustation (see Detection and Inspection Methods) are the most practical diagnostic features of this disease. In culture on malt agar forms, P. noxius raised white and brown plaques, which are characteristic of the species (Nandris et al., 1987a). Recently, a selective medium has been developed consisting of 20 g/l malt-extract, 20 g/l agar, 10 mg/l benomyl, 10 mg/l dichloran, 100 mg/l ampicillin, 500 mg/l gallic acid and 1000 mg/l tergitol NP-7 (Chang, 1995b). Induction of sporulation and collection of basidiospores for the purpose of establishing single-spore colonies has been demonstrated (Bolland et al., 1984).
Tsai et al. (2007) developed specific primers which can be used in the PCR-based diagnosis of P. noxius.
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Above-ground symptoms are similar to other root rot fungi (such as Rigidoporous lignosus of rubber) and collar rot fungi (such as Phytophthora palmivora of cocoa), and pathogen identification cannot be made on these symptoms alone. The soil-encrusted mycelium sleeve is unique to P. noxius and is used to rapidly distinguish this from other pathogens in the field.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.Control measures depend on routine inspection and removal of diseased trees. Recommendations in the past have concentrated on digging exclusion trenches around the infected tree and digging along infected roots until the infection front is located. This, however, has proved to be of limited practical value on a large scale. Various fungicides have been found to have activity against the pathogen (Lim et al., 1990; Mappes and Hiepko, 1984), but routine field treatments with these fungicides are not economical.
The establishment of a good ground cover to hasten the decay of root fragments is recommended when clearing land. This will enhance the breakdown of any infected root fragments which otherwise would provide an inoculum source for the following crop.
Spore infection can be prevented by the chemical poisoning of stumps with compounds which are not toxic to this pathogen (Anon., 1976). Spores require a freshly cut surface, and cannot infect a dead surface.
Other chemicals which have been found to be effective eradicants are soil fumigants (Ram and Venkataram, 1975), but are not used on a plantation scale due to prohibitive cost, and potential danger to users. Volatile ammonia generated from urea is fungicidal to P. noxius in infested wood (Chang and Chang, 1999).
Biocontrol with species of Trichoderma is recognised as a method to prevent spore infection of freshly cut stumps (Anon., 1993). P. noxius is not a strong competitor and is unable to colonize a stump if another organism, such as a species of Trichoderma, is already present. But the method is technically more demanding than poisoning stumps, and is not currently widely used. The potential for biocontrol in the rhizosphere has been demonstrated, particularly with species of Trichoderma (Lim and Teh, 1990; Jacob et al., 1991; Kothandaraman et al., 1991).
ReferencesTop of page
Agustini, L., Francis, A., Glen, M., Indrayadi, H., Mohammed, C. L., 2014. Signs and identification of fungal root-rot pathogens in tropical Eucalyptus pellita plantations. Forest Pathology, 44(6), 486-495. doi: 10.1111/efp.12145
Akiba, M., Ota, Y., Tsai, I. J., Hattori, T., Sahashi, N., Kikuchi, T., 2015. Genetic differentiation and spatial structure of Phellinus noxius, the causal agent of brown root rot of woody plants in Japan. PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0141792. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141792
Anon, 1976. Annual Report, 1975, Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, 133-139
Anon, 1993. Annual Report Rubber Research Institute of India 1991-1992, 26-33
AVA, 2001. Diagnostic records of the Plant Health Diagnostic Services, Plant Health Centre, Agri-food & Veterinary Authority, Singapore
Bolland L, Griffin DM, Heather WA, 1984. Induction of sporulation in basidiomes of Phellinus noxius and preparation of single spore isolates. Bulletin of the British Mycological Society, 18(2):131-133
Burcham, D. C., Wong, J. Y., Ali, M. I. M., Abarrientos, N. V., Jr., Fong, Y. K., Schwarze, F. W. M. R., 2015. Characterization of host-fungus interactions among wood decay fungi associated with Khaya senegalensis (Desr.) A. Juss (Meliaceae) in Singapore. Forest Pathology, 45(6), 492-504. doi: 10.1111/efp.12199
Dann, E. K., Smith, L. A., Pegg, K. G., 2011. Soilborne diseases impacting avocado production in Australia. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium, Twin Waters, Queensland, Australia, 9-11 August 2010 [Proceedings of the Sixth Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium, Twin Waters, Queensland, Australia, 9-11 August 2010], [ed. by Stirling, G. R. ]. Toowoomba, Australia: Australasian Plant Pathology Society Inc. 40.
Farid, A. M., Lee, S. S., Rosli, H. M., Maziah, Z., Norwati, M., 2005. Incidence of teak basal root rot caused by Phellinus noxius in Malaysia. Australasian Plant Pathology, 34(2), 277-278. doi: 10.1071/AP05008
Glen, M., Yuskianti, V., Puspitasari, D., Francis, A., Agustini, L., Rimbawanto, A., Indrayadi, H., Gafur, A., Mohammed, C. L., 2014. Identification of basidiomycete fungi in Indonesian hardwood plantations by DNA barcoding. Forest Pathology, 44(6), 496-508. doi: 10.1111/efp.12146
Huang HuaZhi, Sun LongHua, Bi Keke, Zhong GuoHua, Hu MeiYing, 2016. The effect of phenazine-1-carboxylic acid on the morphological, physiological, and molecular characteristics of Phellinus noxius. Molecules, 21(5), 613. doi: 10.3390/molecules21050613
Ivory MH, 1996. Diseases of forest trees caused by the pathogen Phellinus noxius. In: Raychaudhuri SP, ed. Forest Trees and Palms: Diseases and Control. New Delhi, India: Oxford & IBH Publishing Co, 111-133
Kothandaraman R, Kochuthresiamma Joseph, Mathew J, Rajalakshmi VK, 1991. Actinomycete population in the rhizosphere of Hevea and its inhibitory effect on Phellinus noxius. Indian Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 4(2):150-152
Liloqula R, Johnson CM, 1987. Brown root rot of cocoa caused by Phellinus noxius. Annual Report 1985, Research Department, Agriculture Quarantine Service, Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, Solomon Islands Honiara, Solomon Islands; Dodo Creek Research Station, 38-43
Lim TK, Teh BK, 1990. Antagonism in vitro of Trichoderma species against several basidiomycetous soil-borne pathogens and Sclerotium rolfsii. Zeitschrift fur Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz, 97(1):33-41
Mohd Farid, A., Lee, S. S., Maziah, Z., Patahayah, M., 2009. Pathogenicity of Rigidoporus microporus and Phellinus noxius against four major plantation tree species in Peninsular Malaysia. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 21(4), 289-298. http://info.frim.gov.my/cfdocs/infocenter_application/jtfsonline/jtfs/V21n4/289-298.pdf
Mohd Farid, A., Lee, S. S., Maziah, Z., Rosli, H., Norwati, M., 2005. Basal Root Rot, a new Disease of Teak (Tectona grandis) in Malaysia caused by Phellinus noxius. Malaysia Journal of Microbiology, 1(2), 40-45. doi: 10.21161/mjm.120507
Nandris, D., Nicole, M., Geiger, J. P., 1988. Root-rot diseases of the rubber tree in the Ivory Coast. 1. Severity, dynamics and characterization of epidemics. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 18(10), 1248-1254. doi: 10.1139/x88-192
Pinruan, U., Rungjindamai, N., Choeyklin, R., Lumyong, S., Hyde, K. D., Jones, E. B. G., 2010. Occurrence and diversity of basidiomycetous endophytes from the oil palm, Elaeis guineensis in Thailand. Fungal Diversity, 41(1), 71-88. doi: 10.1007/s13225-010-0029-1
Ram CSV, 1975. Brown root disease of tea. Planters' Chronicle, 70(88):217-218
Sahashi N, Akiba M, Ota Y, Masuya H, Hattori T, Mukai A, Shimada R, Ono T, Sato T, 2015. Brown root rot caused by Phellinus noxius in the Ogasawara (Bonin) islands, southern Japan - current status of the disease and its host plants. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 10(1):33. http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13314-015-0183-0/fulltext.html
Sahashi, N., Akiba, M., Ishihara, M., Abe, Y., Morita, S., 2007. First report of the brown root rot disease caused by Phellinus noxius, its distribution and newly recorded host plants in the Amami Islands, southern Japan. Forest Pathology, 37(3), 167-173. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0329.2007.00491.x
Sahashi, N., Akiba, M., Ishihara, M., Miyazaki, K., Kanzaki, N., 2010. Cross inoculation tests with Phellinus noxius isolates from nine different host plants in the Ryukyu Islands, Southwestern Japan. Plant Disease, 94(3), 358-360. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-94-3-0358
Sahashi, N., Akiba, M., Takemoto, S., Yokoi, T., Ota, Y., Kanzaki, N., 2014. Phellinus noxius causes brown root rot on four important conifer species in Japan. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 140(4), 869-873. doi: 10.1007/s10658-014-0503-9
See LS, Zakaria Ibrahim, Hashim MohdNoor, Wan Razali Wan Mohd, 1996. Impact of heart rot in Acacia mangium Willd. plantations of Peninsular Malaysia. Impact of diseases and insect pests in tropical forests. Proceedings of the IUFRO Symposium, Peechi, India, 23-26 November 1993., 1-10; 14 ref
Supriadi, Adhi, E. M., Wahyuno, D., Rahayuningsih, S., Karyani, N., Dahsyat, M., 2004. Brown root rot disease of cashew in West Nusa Tenggara: distribution and its causal organism. Indonesian Journal of Agricultural Science, 5(1), 32-36.
Tsai JyhNong, Ann PaoJen, Liou RueyFen, Hsieh WenHsui, Ko WenHsiung, 2017. Phellinus noxius: molecular diversity among isolates from Taiwan and its phylogenetic relationship with other species of Phellinus based on sequences of the ITS region. Botanical Studies, 58(9), (16 January 2017). doi: 10.1186/s40529-017-0162-1
Wang, Y.-F., Meng, H., Gu, V. W., Gu, J.-D., 2016. Molecular diagnosis of the brown root rot disease agent Phellinus noxius on trees and in soil by rDNA ITS analysis. Applied Environmental Biotechnology, 1(1), 81-91. doi: 10.26789/AEB.2016.01.002
Agustini L, Francis A, Glen M, Indrayadi H, Mohammed C L, 2014. Signs and identification of fungal root-rot pathogens in tropical Eucalyptus pellita plantations. Forest Pathology. 44 (6), 486-495. DOI:10.1111/efp.12145
Akiba M, Ota Y, Tsai I J, Hattori T, Sahashi N, Kikuchi T, 2015. Genetic differentiation and spatial structure of Phellinus noxius, the causal agent of brown root rot of woody plants in Japan. PLoS ONE. 10 (10), e0141792. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141792
Ann P J, Tsai J N, Wang I T, Hsien M L, 1999b. Response of fruit trees and ornamental plants to brown root rot disease by artificial inoculation with Phellinus noxius. Plant Pathology Bulletin. 8 (2), 61-66.
AVA, 2001. Diagnostic records of the Plant Health Diagnostic Services., Singapore: Plant Health Centre Agri-food & Veterinary Authority.
Burcham D C, Wong J Y, Ali M I M, Abarrientos N V Jr, Fong Y K, Schwarze F W M R, 2015. Characterization of host-fungus interactions among wood decay fungi associated with Khaya senegalensis (Desr.) A. Juss (Meliaceae) in Singapore. Forest Pathology. 45 (6), 492-504. DOI:10.1111/efp.12199
CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Chang T T, Yang W W, 1998. Phellinus noxius in Taiwan: distribution, host plants and the pH and texture of the rhizosphere soils of infected hosts. Mycological Research. 102 (9), 1085-1088. DOI:10.1017/S0953756297005571
Fu ChuenHsu, Hu BauYuan, Chang TunTschu, Hsueh KaiLeen, Hsu WeiTse, 2012. Evaluation of dazomet as fumigant for the control of brown root rot disease. Pest Management Science. 68 (7), 959-962. DOI:10.1002/ps.3303
Glen M, Yuskianti V, Puspitasari D, Francis A, Agustini L, Rimbawanto A, Indrayadi H, Gafur A, Mohammed C L, 2014. Identification of basidiomycete fungi in Indonesian hardwood plantations by DNA barcoding. Forest Pathology. 44 (6), 496-508. DOI:10.1111/efp.12146
Liloqula R, Johnson C M, 1987. Brown root rot of cocoa caused by Phellinus noxius. In: Annual Report 1985, Research Department, Agriculture Quarantine Service, Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, Solomon Islands. Honiara, Solomon Islands: Dodo Creek Research Station. 38-43.
Mohd Farid A, Lee S S, Maziah Z, Patahayah M, 2009. Pathogenicity of Rigidoporus microporus and Phellinus noxius against four major plantation tree species in Peninsular Malaysia. Journal of Tropical Forest Science. 21 (4), 289-298. http://info.frim.gov.my/cfdocs/infocenter_application/jtfsonline/jtfs/V21n4/289-298.pdf
Sahashi N, Akiba M, Ishihara M, Abe Y, Morita S, 2007. First report of the brown root rot disease caused by Phellinus noxius, its distribution and newly recorded host plants in the Amami Islands, southern Japan. Forest Pathology. 37 (3), 167-173. DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0329.2007.00491.x
Sahashi N, Akiba M, Ishihara M, Miyazaki K, Kanzaki N, 2010. Cross inoculation tests with Phellinus noxius isolates from nine different host plants in the Ryukyu Islands, Southwestern Japan. Plant Disease. 94 (3), 358-360. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-94-3-0358
Sahashi N, Akiba M, Ota Y, Masuya H, Hattori T, Mukai A, Shimada R, Ono T, Sato T, 2015. Brown root rot caused by Phellinus noxius in the Ogasawara (Bonin) islands, southern Japan - current status of the disease and its host plants. Australasian Plant Disease Notes. 10 (1), 33. DOI:10.1007/s13314-015-0183-0
Sahashi N, Akiba M, Takemoto S, Yokoi T, Ota Y, Kanzaki N, 2014. Phellinus noxius causes brown root rot on four important conifer species in Japan. European Journal of Plant Pathology. 140 (4), 869-873. DOI:10.1007/s10658-014-0503-9
Supriadi, Adhi E M, Wahyuno D, Rahayuningsih S, Karyani N, Dahsyat M, 2004. Brown root rot disease of cashew in West Nusa Tenggara: distribution and its causal organism. Indonesian Journal of Agricultural Science. 5 (1), 32-36.
Tran T T, Glen M, Beadle C, Ratkowsky D, Mohammed C, 2019. Wood-rotting basidiomycetes are a minor component of fungal communities associated with Acacia hybrid trees grown for sawlogs in South Vietnam. Forest Pathology. 49 (2), e12498. DOI:10.1111/efp.12498
Tsai J N, Ann P J, Hsieh W H, 2005. Evaluation of fungicides for suppression of three major wood-decay fungi Phellinus noxius, Rosellinia necatrix and Ganoderma australe in Taiwan. Plant Pathology Bulletin. 14 (2), 115-124.
Tsai J N, Hsieh W H, Ann P J, 2008. Effects of nitrogen fertilizers and chemical fungicides on control of brown root rot of tree fruits and grapes caused by Phellinus noxius. Plant Pathology Bulletin. 17 (2), 119-126.
Tsai JyhNong, Ann PaoJen, Liou RueyFen, Hsieh WenHsui, Ko WenHsiung, 2017. Phellinus noxius: molecular diversity among isolates from Taiwan and its phylogenetic relationship with other species of Phellinus based on sequences of the ITS region. Botanical Studies. 58 (9), (16 January 2017). DOI:10.1186/s40529-017-0162-1
Wang Y-F, Meng H, Gu V W, Gu J-D, 2016. Molecular diagnosis of the brown root rot disease agent Phellinus noxius on trees and in soil by rDNA ITS analysis. Applied Environmental Biotechnology. 1 (1), 81-91. DOI:10.26789/AEB.2016.01.002
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