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Characterization and Pathogenicity of Botryosphaeriaceae Species Collected from Olive and Other Hosts in Spain and California

December 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  12
Pages  1,340 - 1,351

Juan Moral, Concepción Muñoz-Díez, Nazaret González, Antonio Trapero, and Themis J. Michailides

First, second, third, and fourth authors: Departamento de Agronomía, ETSIAM, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edif. C4, 14071 Córdoba, Spain; and fifth author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of California–Davis, Kearney Agricultural Center, 9240 South Riverbend Ave., Parlier 93648.

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Accepted for publication 19 August 2010.

Species in the family Botryosphaeriaceae are common pathogens causing fruit rot and dieback of many woody plants. In this study, 150 Botryosphaeriaceae isolates were collected from olive and other hosts in Spain and California. Representative isolates of each type were characterized based on morphological features and comparisons of DNA sequence data of three regions: internal transcribed spacer 5.8S, β-tubulin, and elongation factor. Three main species were identified as Neofusicoccum mediterraneum, causing dieback of branches of olive and pistachio; Diplodia seriata, causing decay of ripe fruit and dieback of olive branches; and Botryosphaeria dothidea, causing dalmatian disease on unripe olive fruit in Spain. Moreover, the sexual stage of this last species was also found attacking olive branches in California. In pathogenicity tests using unripe fruit and branches of olive, D. seriata isolates were the least aggressive on the fruit and branches while N. mediterraneum isolates were the most aggressive on both tissues. Isolates of B. dothidea which cause dalmatian disease on fruit were not pathogenic on branches and only weakly aggressive on fruit. These results, together with the close association between the presence of dalmatian disease symptoms and the wound created by the olive fly (Bactrocera oleae), suggest that the fly is essential for the initiation of the disease on fruit. Isolates recovered from dalmatian disease symptoms had an optimum of 26°C for mycelial growth and 30°C for conidial germination, suggesting that the pathogen is well adapted to high summer temperatures. In contrast, the range of water activity in the medium for growth of dalmatian isolates was 0.93 to 1 MPa, which was similar to that for the majority of fungi. This study resolved long-standing questions of identity and pathogenicity of species within the family Botryosphaeriaceae attacking olive trees in Spain and California.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society