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New Plant Pathology article

Sporulation potential, symptom expression and detection of Phytophthora ramorum on larch needles and other foliar hosts. Harris. A. R. and Webber, J. F. (2016). Plant Pathol, 65: 1441–1451. doi:10.1111/ppa.12538

Phytophthora ramorum has caused extensive dieback and mortality of commercially grown Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) in many parts of the UK, as infected foliage generates spores that then cause bark lesions and girdling cankers on trees. Following inoculation, individual needles of Japanese, European (L. decidua) and hybrid (L. × eurolepis) larch infected with P. ramorum can produce thousands of sporangia. Mean numbers of sporangia ranged from 806 to 1778 per cm2 (hybrid larch and Japanese larch, respectively), surpassing mean sporulation levels on foliar hosts previously associated with P. ramorum outbreaks in Britain, namely Rhododendron ponticum, Castanea sativa and Vaccinium myrtillus. Sporulation on larch even exceeded that of California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica), which drives the sudden oak death epidemic in California. Inoculation of foliage selected at different times of year revealed that foliage age significantly affected sporulation levels, but this varied with host species. However, symptom development and sporulation were often not correlated. Symptoms on larch were frequently insignificant or even absent at certain times of year, with sometimes the only evidence of infection being the emergence of sporangia from needles, without any sign of discolouration or necrosis. Plating infected but symptomless needles onto Phytophthora selective medium also often failed to yield the pathogen. Symptomless infection of larch needles apparently occurs, but is only detectable with microscopy. More generally, it is suggested that diagnosis of Phytophthora infection in conifers is often underestimated due to isolation difficulties and delayed symptom expression.


Journal of Phytopathology article

The Effect of Exposure to Decreasing Relative Humidity on the Viability of Phytophthora ramorum sporangia. Tooley, P. W. and Browning, M. (2016), J Phytopathol, 164: 874–881. doi:10.1111/jph.12506

Sporangia of three isolates of Phytophthora ramorum representing three different clonal lineages were subjected to relative humidity (RH) levels between 80 and 100% for exposure periods ranging from 1 to 24 h at 20°C in darkness. Plastic containers (21.5 × 14.5 × 5 cm) were used as humidity chambers with 130 ml of glycerine solution added to each container. Glycerine concentrations corresponded to 100, 95, 90, 85 and 80% RH based on refractive index measurements. Sporangia suspensions were pipeted onto nitrile mesh squares (1.5 × 1.5 cm, 15 micron pore size) which were placed in the humidity chambers and incubated at 20°C in darkness. Following exposure periods of 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24 h, mesh squares were inverted onto Petri dishes of selective medium and sporangia germination assessed after 24 and 48 h. At 100% RH, we observed a mean value of 88% germination after 1 h exposure declining to 18% germination following 24 h incubation. At 95% RH, a steeper decline in germination was noted, with means ranging from 79% at 1 h to less than 1% at 24 h exposure. At 90% RH, no germination was noted after 8 or more h exposure, and values were 57%, 22% and 3% germination for the 1, 2 and 4 h exposures, respectively. Germination was only observed at 1 h exposure for both the 85% RH treatment (52% germination) and the 80% RH treatment (38% germination). The three isolates responded similarly over the range of RH values tested. The germination response of P. ramorum sporangia to RH values between 80% and 100% was comparable to that reported for other Phytophthora species. Knowledge of conditions that affect Pramorum sporangia germination can shed light on pathogenesis and epidemic potential and lead to improved control recommendations.


New Plant Disease article December 2016

First Report of Phytophthora uniformis and P. plurivora Causing Stem Cankers on Alnus glutinosa in Denmark.

M. Á. Redondo, I. M. Thomsen, and J. Oliva. Plant Disease 0 0:0, PDIS-09-16-1287-PDN
Phytophthora uniformis (Brasier & S.A. Kirk) Husson, Ioos & Aguayo, comb. nov. is an aggressive pathogen associated with root and collar rot of alder trees (Alnus spp.) in Europe (Husson et al. 2015). In summer 2016, symptomatic trees were observed in the banks of a backwater lake area of the river Gurre Å (56°1′46.24″N, 12°27′15.30″E, 29 m above sea level). Several trees displayed chlorosis, reduced leaf size, defoliation, and bleeding cankers on the base of the stem. Inspections upstream near Gurre forest failed in finding other trees with similar crown symptoms, whereas a tree with a bleeding canker was observed downstream (56°3′10.97″N, 12°26′4.40″E, 23 m above sea level). Bark from six trees in the first site and from the tree in the second site was removed from the canker area. As described in Redondo et al. (2015), pieces of 1 cm × 0.5 cm × 1 mm of necrotic cambial tissue from the infection front were plated directly into CMA-PARPBH selective medium. Growing hyphae were transferred onto V8 juice agar medium and incubated at 20°C. Isolates from the first site grew 5 mm/day and formed cottony uniform colonies. More....

KVAL news story - New strain of Sudden Oak Death detected in small number of trees in northern Curry County

Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016

CURRY COUNTY -- An infestation of the European strain (EU1) of P. ramorum, the causal agent of Sudden Oak Death, has been discovered in 12 tanoak trees and one grand fir seedling in the Curry County wildlands, Oregon Dept. of Forestry officials said.

Testing results are still pending for another grand fir tree and 11 tanoaks. No infestations of the EU1 strain have been found in Douglas fir trees in the area, officials said.

Certain species of oak commonly found in Oregon, including tanoak and California black oak, are highly susceptible to and more likely to die from the disease. Though firs can be affected by SOD, the disease damages new shoots and twigs when growing near heavily infested tanoak and does not appear to kill mature firs.


New Plant Disease article December 2016

Phytophthora gonapodyides Causes Decline and Death of English (Persian) Walnut (Juglans regia) in Italy A. Belisario, L. Luongo, S. Vitale, M. Galli, and A. Haegi.

Plant Disease, Volume 100, Number 12, Page 2537 http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-03-16-0394-PDN

In late spring 2015, several commercially grown Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.) cv. Lara trees in northeastern Italy (Udine) exhibited extensive foliar wilt and canopy decline associated with collar and root rot. Sudden collapse was recorded in about 80% of trees facing an irrigation canal. Symptomatic tissues excised from roots and collars of affected plants were surface disinfested for 1 min in a 1% NaOCl solution, rinsed for 5 min in sterile distilled water, and placed onto P5ARPH selective medium. A Phytophthora-like organism was consistently isolated. Pure cultures, with a typical rosette pattern, were obtained by single-hyphal transfers onto potato dextrose agar (PDA).

New Phytophthora alni article in Journal of Maps

Potential risk of occurrence of Phytophthora alni in forests of the Czech Republic

Phytophthora alni is an invasive organism that causes root and collar rot in alders, which significantly damages the forest and riparian vegetation of alder trees in Central and Western Europe. In the Czech Republic, this pathogen was first confirmed in 2001, and since then it has been gradually spreading from the west to the east. Here, we applied a model of potential distribution that estimates the level and spatial variability of the pathogen occurrence and spread risk for Czech Republic forests to target the early detection and control the further invasion of P. alni in this region. Our predictions are based on a rigorous statistical analysis of data obtained from field survey as well as available geodatabases. We used two sets of predictor variables describing (i) the forest stands and (ii) neighbourhood of the stands, and generalized linear modelling with forward stepwise selection of predictors. The results of statistical analysis showed the significant effect of the area of the forest stand, forest vegetation zone, presence of watercourse and area of alder stands in the neighbourhood on the probability of occurrence of P. alni in the study region. The map derived based on the final model shows the potential risk of occurrence and impact of P. alni in forests of the Czech Republic as classified on a five-point scale ranging from very low risk for alder stands with a low level of likely invasion to very sensitive alder stands with high probability of pathogen occurrence and high levels of damage. This is a unique output not only for the Czech Republic but also throughout Europe.

New Plant Disease article

Endemic and Emerging Pathogens Threatening Cork Oak Trees: Management Options for Conserving a Unique Forest Ecosystem.

Moricca S, Linaldeddu BT, Ginetti B, Scanu B, Franceschini A, Ragazzi A. Endemic and Emerging Pathogens Threatening Cork Oak Trees: Management Options for Conserving a Unique Forest Ecosystem. Plant Disease [Internet]. 2016  ;100(11):2184 - 2193. Available from: http://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/10.1094/PDIS-03-16-0408-FE

Cork oak (Quercus suber) forests are economically and culturally intertwined with the inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin and characterize its rural landscape. These forests cover over two million hectares in the western Mediterranean basin and sustain a rich biodiversity of endemisms as well as representing an important source of income derived from cork production. Currently cork oak forests are threatened by several factors including human-mediated disturbances such as poor or inappropriate management practices, adverse environmental conditions (irregular water regime with prolonged drought periods), and attacks of pathogens and pests. All these adverse factors can interact, causing a complex disease commonly known as “oak decline.” Despite the numerous investigations carried out so far, decline continues to be the main pathological problem of cork oak forests because of its complex etiology and the resulting difficulties in defining suitable control strategies. An overview of the literature indicates that several pathogenic fungi and oomycota can play a primary role in the etiology of this syndrome. Therefore, the aim of this review is to analyze the recent advances achieved regarding the bio-ecology of the endemic and emerging pathogens that threaten cork oak trees with particular emphasis on the species more directly involved in oak decline. Moreover, the effect of climate change on the host-pathogen interactions, a task fundamental for making useful decisions and managing cork oak forests properly, is considered.

Early view article in Global Change Biology journal

Current and projected global distribution of Phytophthora cinnamomi, one of the world's worst plant pathogens.

Burgess, T. I., Scott, J. K., McDougall, K. L., Stukely, M. J. C., Crane, C., Dunstan, W. A., Brigg, F., Andjic, V., White, D., Rudman, T., Arentz, F., Ota, N. and Hardy, G. E. St.J.

Glob Change Biol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/gcb.13492

Globally, Phytophthora cinnamomi is listed as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species and active management is required to reduce impact and prevent spread in both horticulture and natural ecosystems. Conversely, there are regions thought to be suitable for the pathogen where no disease is observed. We developed a CLIMEX model for the global distribution of P. cinnamomi based on the pathogen's response to temperature and moisture and by incorporating extensive empirical evidence on the presence and absence of the pathogen. The CLIMEX model captured areas of climatic suitability where P. cinnamomi occurs that is congruent with all available records. The model was validated by the collection of soil samples from asymptomatic vegetation in areas projected to be suitable by the model for which there were few records. DNA was extracted and the presence or absence of P. cinnamomi determined by high throughput sequencing (HTS). While not detected using traditional isolation methods, HTS detected P. cinnamomi at higher elevations in eastern Australia and central Tasmania as projected by the CLIMEX model. Further support for the CLIMEX model was obtained by using the large dataset from southwest Australia where the proportion of positive records in an area is related to the Ecoclimatic Index value for the same area. We provide for the first time a comprehensive global map of the current P. cinnamomi distribution, an improved CLIMEX model of the distribution, and a projection to 2080 of the distribution with predicted climate change. This information provides the basis for more detailed regional scale modelling and supports risk assessment for governments to plan management of this important soil-borne plant pathogen.


New Plant Pathology article May 2016

Metabarcoding and development of new real-time specific assays reveal Phytophthora species diversity in holm oak forests in eastern Spain

Català, S., Berbegal, M., Pérez-Sierra, A. and Abad-Campos, P. (2016). Plant Pathology. doi: 10.1111/ppa.12541

The evergreen holm oaks (Quercus ilex subsp. ilex and Q. ilex subsp. ballota) are the most representative tree species in the Iberian peninsula and the main tree species in oak-rangeland ecosystems (dehesas). Oak decline in western, central and southern parts of Spain has been associated with root rot caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi for decades. However, Phytophthora species such as P.  quercina and P. psychrophila have recently been found associated with Quercus decline in eastern Spain where calcareous soils are predominant. Soil and root samples from two Quercus forests presenting decline symptoms in two different geographical areas in eastern Spain (Carrascar de la Font Roja and Vallivana) were analysed by amplicon pyrosequencing. Metabarcoding analysis showed Phytophthora species diversity, and revealed that an uncultured Phytophthora taxon, named provisionally Phytophthora taxon ballota, was the predominant species in both areas. In addition, a real-time PCR assay, based on the pyrosequencing results, was developed for the detection of this uncultured Phytophthora taxon, and also for the detection of P. quercina. TaqMan assays were tested on soil and root samples, and on Phytophthora pure cultures. The new assays showed high specificity and were consistent with metabarcoding results. A new real-time PCR protocol is proposed to evaluate the implication of different Phytophthora spp. in oak decline in eastern Spain.



New Forest Pathology article April 2016

Phytophthora ×alni and Phytophthora lacustris associated with common alder decline in Central Portugal

Kanoun-Boulé, M., Vasconcelos, T., Gaspar, J., Vieira, S., Dias-Ferreira, C., Husson, C. (2016), Phytophthora ×alni and Phytophthora lacustris associated with common alder decline in Central Portugal. Forest Pathology, 46: 174–176. doi: 10.1111/efp.12273

Since the early 1990s, an emerging disease induced by the highly aggressive oomycete Phytophthora ×alni has caused widespread alder decline across Europe. In parallel, P. lacustris, a recently described species associated with riparian habitats, has been subject of increasing interest. A field survey conducted in 2014 showed high mortality rates in alder stands located in the riparian gallery along two rivers in Central Portugal. The pathogens isolated from necrotic alder stem base during this study were identified as P. ×alni and P. lacustris. This paper is the first to report the occurrence of P. lacustris in Portugal and presents the first finding of P. ×alni affecting mature trees in natural ecosystems located in Central Portugal.