Alternaria: An Identification Manual fills a very large void in the scientific literature and it is quite certain that the volume will become the standard reference for those needing to have critical access to Alternaria literature and taxonomic information. This beautiful tome is a compilation of a lifetime’s work on Alternaria and related genera and will help scientists, both research and regulatory, facilitate routine identification. Most importantly, it provides plant pathologists, mycologists, and others the tools that they need to accurately identify a species of Alternaria. The book begins by introducing the taxonomy, nomenclature, and classification of Alternaria including the author’s own classification viewpoint for the manual. Similar genera are discussed and differentiated from Alternaria. Additionally, basic protocols are recommended and an important section on cautions, conventions, usages, and nomenclature are provided. At the end of this section, an outline of the keying system is presented. Chapters two through six are the main body of the manual that includes the 276 species that are accepted, keyed, described, and illustrated. Descriptions are in a standard format and include colony development and appearance, sporulation patterns, conidiophore and conidium morphology, and comparison with similar taxa. A full-page drawing is provided for each species illustrating diagnostic characters. At the end of the book is a comprehensive list of nearly 1200 names historically associated with Alternaria since 1796, their current taxonomic placement, a host-substrate index, a general index, and an extensive literature cited section. Cultures, on which the descriptions in the book are based, for nearly all species, have been deposited into the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures where they are available to serve as authenticated, reference cultures. Therefore the research results based on these cultures is more trustworthy because the cultures are identified correctly. Many that are deposited in collections by others, or sequences in GenBank can be based on misidentifications. This will be a major boon in the development of phylogenies as well as dependable diagnostic tools. As the author states,“The value of a correct and restrictive identification is obvious to anyone needing a key to information on an Alternaria collection or isolate.”
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