Involvement of Phytophthora species in the decline of beech Fagus sylvatica in Wallonia (Belgium)

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci., Volume 72, p.879-85. (2007)


During the last decade, typical symptoms of Phytophthora diseases were observed in beech stands of several European countries. The main symptoms were the presence of bleeding cankers on the stem, a low crown density as well as the yellowing of foliage and the small size of leaves. Several species of Phytophthora, such as Phytophthora citricola, P. cambivora and P. cactorum, were reported as the causal agents. In order to evaluate the implication of the different Phytophthora species in beech decline in the southern part of Belgium (Wallonia), a monitoring was undertaken with the help of managers of public and private forests. Phytophthora strains isolated from beech of different stands as well as from soil were characterized through morphological and molecular analyses (PCR-RFLP of ITS). All the isolated strains were identified as P. cambivora, except for one strain whose identification is ongoing. Molecular analysis was also directly applied to necrosed tissues of bleeding beeches and enabled the detection of additional cases. All positive cases exhibited a profile characteristic of the species P. cambivora, except for one of the sampled trees showing a different Phytophthora profile also corresponding to the unidentified isolated strain. Identification of the Phytophthora species linked to this different RFLP profile is also ongoing. Both complementation types (A1 and A2) of P. cambivora were identified, sometimes in the same sampling site. Ornamented oogonia characteristic of this species were produced by pairing A1 and A2 strains isolated from the same site.


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