First and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011; and third author: Dept. de Fitopatologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa MG Brazil.
Ceratocystis cacaofunesta (formerly C. fimbriata) causes a lethal wilt disease of cacao (Theobroma cacao) in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Recent studies employing phylogenetics, intersterility, and host range separate the cacao pathogen from other strains of the C. fimbriata complex. Ceratocystis wilt has been managed through genetic resistance, but the disease is an emerging problem in Bahia, Brazil, where it was recently introduced. Genetic studies indicate that populations of the fungus in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Bahia may have been introduced on cacao cuttings; whereas populations in Rondônia, Brazil, and western Ecuador appear to be native. The fungal genotype present in Bahia is similar to those found in Rondônia and may have been introduced on propagative material with witches' broom resistance.