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Phylogeny, Identification, and Pathogenicity of Lasiodiplodia Associated with Postharvest Stem-End Rot of Coconut in Brazil

Rosado, André Wilson Campos, Machado, Alexandre Reis, Freire, Francisco das Chagas Oliveira, Pereira, Olinto Liparini
Plant disease 2016 v.100 no.3 pp. 561-568
Cocos nucifera, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, coconuts, fungi, new species, pathogenicity, pathogens, phylogeny, tropical and subtropical crops, Brazil
Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.) is one of the most important perennial tropical crops. Stem-end rot is the major postharvest disease of coconut in Brazil. The fungus Lasiodiplodia theobromae is the only species that has been reported to be associated with this disease. However, a comprehensive study elucidating the true identity of this pathogen with molecular tools has never been conducted. In recent years, new species of Lasiodiplodia have been proposed after molecular studies were performed, indicating the existence of a species complex. The aims of this research were to study the etiology of the postharvest stem-end rot of immature coconut based on a combination of morphological and phylogenetic analyses, to establish the phylogenetic position of such taxa, and to assess the pathogenicity of each taxon. Four species were identified: L. brasiliense, L. egyptiacae, L. pseudotheobromae, and L. theobromae. All of the species were distinguished morphologically and phylogenetically and were proven to be pathogenic to coconut following artificial inoculation. L. theobromae was the most common and the most aggressive species. This study represents the first report of three additional species of Lasiodiplodia as causal agents of postharvest stem-end rot of immature coconut in Brazil.