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Interceptions of exotic fungi associated with the international movement of medicinal plant material from Asia and the Pacific

Wendy Sueno: USDA APHIS PPQ, Honolulu Plant Inspection Station

<div>With the increasing popularity of “alternative” plant-based treatments for health concerns and medical issues comes a concomitant increase in the frequency of these medicinal plants and plant parts being encountered at United States ports of entry. These plants can potentially harbor quarantine significant pests of concern to United States agriculture. Many of these plants are from geographic regions with a paucity of information on fungal diversity, and are on hosts for which the associated fungi may not be well studied or documented. Interceptions of representative medicinal plants and plant parts, primarily from Southeast Asia and the Pacific region, rose steadily during the 2000s, then showed a marked increase starting in the early 2010s. Frequently-recovered fungi included species of <em>Colletotrichum</em>, <em>Pestalotiopsis</em>, <em>Phomopsis</em>, and <em>Phyllosticta</em>. Morphological differences between samples indicated a potential diversity in fungal species infecting the hosts which could, in some cases, be related to host origin.</div>