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Biological and Phylogenetic Analyses Suggest that Two Cryphonectria spp. Cause Cankers of Eucalyptus in Africa

    Authors and Affiliations
    • J. Roux
    • H. Myburg
    • B. D. Wingfield
    • M. J. Wingfield , Department of Genetics, Forestry, and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

      Cryphonectria cubensis is an economically important pathogen of commercial Eucalyptus spp. Differences have been reported for disease symptoms associated with Cryphonectria canker in South Africa and other parts of the world, and recent DNA-based comparisons have confirmed that the fungus in South Africa is different from that in South America and Australasia. During a disease survey in the Republic of Congo, Cryphonectria canker was identified as an important disease on Eucalyptus grandis and E. urophylla. In this study, we compared Congolese and South African isolates of C. cubensis using DNA sequence data and pathogenicity under greenhouse conditions. The β-tubulin and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region sequences show that C. cubensis in Congo is different from the fungus in South Africa and that Congolese isolates group most closely with South American isolates. Furthermore, pathogenicity tests showed that a South African isolate was more aggressive than two Congolese isolates. We conclude that two distinct Cryphonectria spp. occur in Africa and hypothesize that the fungus in the Congo probably was introduced into Africa from South America. Both fungi are important pathogens causing disease and death of economically important plantation trees. However, they apparently have different origins and must be treated separately in terms of disease management and quarantine considerations.