Identification, pathogenicity and distribution of the causal agents of dieback in avocado orchards in Spain

Isabel Arjona-Girona, David Ruano-Rosa, Carlos J. López-Herrera


An increased incidence of dieback from branches in several avocado orchards in southern Spain was observed in 2014. Surveys were conducted from May to October 2014, sampling the affected branches to isolate the causal agents. A total of 68 fungal isolates, recovered from ten avocado orchards, were identified, by morphological characterisation and DNA sequencing, as belonging to the genera: Neofusicoccum parvum (50%), Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (17.6%), Neofusicoccum luteum (16.2%), Neofusicoccum australe (13.2%), Neofusicoccum mediterraneum (1.5%) and Lasiodiplodia theobromae (1.5%). A decreasing level of virulence in artificial inoculations on avocado plants was observed in N. parvum, N. luteum, N. mediterraneum, N. australe, C. gloeosporioides and L. theobromae, there were significant differences among N. parvum and the rest of species of this genus, and significant differences were only observed between N. luteum and C. gloeosporioides. The geographical distribution of N. parvum and N. Luteum covers different areas, while C. gloeosporioides and N. australe are located only in the areas around Benamocarra and Vélez-Málaga (southern Spain), while N. mediterraneum and L. theobromae appear only occasionally. This is the first study of avocado branch cankers in Spain which identifies the causal agents and establishes their pathogenicity groups, with N. parvum as the most important causal agent of avocado dieback in this area.


Botryosphaeriaceae; Lasiodiplodia; Neofusicoccum Colletotrichum Persea americana

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2019171-13561