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Diversity of decline-associated Phaeoacremonium species on woody hosts in South Africa

Lizel Mostert: Stellenbosch University

<div>Nineteen <em>Phaeoacremonium</em> species are known in South Africa and have been reported from grapevines, pome and stone fruit trees, fynbos twig litter and arthropods. In other countries some of these <em>Phaeoacremonium </em>species are also known from hosts such as European olive, quince and willow that also commonly occur in South Africa. The aim of this study was to investigate the species diversity and host-range of <em>Phaeoacremonium </em>in the Western Cape Province of South Africa by characterising 158 isolates collected from 29 woody hosts. Phylogenetic analyses of combined actin and beta-tubulin datasets allowed for the identification of 32 species among the 158 isolates, including 14 new species and 3 known species that had not been recorded in South Africa previously. The new<em> Phaeoacremonium</em> species include <em>P</em>. <em>album</em>,<em> P</em>. <em>aureum</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>bibendum</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>gamsii</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>geminum</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>junior</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>longicollarum</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>meliae</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>oleae</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>paululum</em>, <em>P. pravum</em>,<em> P</em>. <em>proliferatum</em>, <em>P</em>. <em>rosicola</em> and <em>P</em>. <em>spadicum</em>. All previous records of <em>P. alvesii</em> in South Africa were re-identified as <em>P. italicum</em>, but both species were recovered during this survey. A total of 36 <em>Phaeoacremonium </em>species are now known in South Africa, more than double the number reported in any other country. The high number of <em>Phaeoacremonium </em>species reflects the diversity of indigenous flora of the Cape Floral Region, a biodiversity hotspot mainly situated in the Western Cape Province.</div>

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