Morphological, molecular and pathogenic characterization of Phytophthora palmivora isolates causing black pod rot of cacao in Colombia

  • Eleonora Rodríguez-Polanco Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria, CORPOICA. C.I. Nataima. Espinal
  • Juan G. Morales Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Medellín, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Departamento Ciencias Agronómicas. Medellín, Antioquia
  • Melissa Muñoz-Agudelo Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Medellín, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Dept. Ciencias Agronómicas. Medellín, Antioquia
  • José D. Segura Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria, CORPOICA. C.I. Nataima. Espinal
  • Martha L. Carrero Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria, CORPOICA. C.I. Nataima. Espinal
Keywords: Theobroma cacao L., Phytophthora sp., sporangia, pedicel, chlamydospores


Aim of study: To characterize isolates of Phytophthora sp. causing black pod rot (BPR) of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.).

Area of study: Eight cocoa-growing regions in Colombia.

Material and methods: Sixty isolates of Phytophthora sp. were obtained from tissues of cacao pods showing symptoms of BPR. Isolates were characterized using the morphology of sporangia and chlamydospores, molecular sequencing of regions of nuclear DNA (rDNA-ITS) and mitochondrial (COX) and virulence in different genotypes of cocoa pods.

Main results: A high phenotypic variability between the isolates was determined, being the pedicel length and the length/width ratio (L/W) the most stable characters for species identification. Short pedicels with an average of 3.13 μm ± 0.28 and a length/width ratio of sporangia (L/W) with an average of 1.55 μm ± 0.11 were established as the most consistent morphological characteristics within palmivora species.

Research highlights: Phytophthora pamivora was the only species associated to BPR, identified using morphology together with sequence analyses.


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How to Cite
Rodríguez-PolancoE., MoralesJ. G., Muñoz-AgudeloM., SeguraJ. D., & CarreroM. L. (2020). Morphological, molecular and pathogenic characterization of Phytophthora palmivora isolates causing black pod rot of cacao in Colombia. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 18(2), e1003.
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