Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENING THE EVERGLADES & OTHER NATURAL AND MANANGED SYSTEMS

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Corynespora cassiicola f. sp. schinii, a potential biocontrol agent for the weed Schinus terebinthifolius in the United States

Authors
item Macedo, D.M. -
item Pereira, O.L. -
item WHEELER, GREGORY
item Barreto, R.W. -

Submitted to: Plant Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 24, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-06-12-0598-RE
Citation: Macedo, D., Pereira, O., Wheeler, G.S., Barreto, R. 2013. Corynespora cassiicola f. sp. schinii, a potential biocontrol agent for the weed Schinus terebinthifolius in the United States. Plant Disease. 97:496-500.

Interpretive Summary: Brazilian peppertree is a major agricultural and environmental weed in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the globe, including Florida, Hawaii and Australia. This plant has been the target of a classical biological control project involving pathogens collected in Brazil for several years. A disease of this invasive species was found in central Brazil. This disease represents a new isolate of the well-known plant pathogen Corynespora cassiicola that causes a leaf spot and foliage blight. Examination of the morphology and genetic DNA analysis has confirmed that the fungus belongs to Corynespora cassiicola. A preliminary host-range test to determine the safety of this species included 25 species, 11 of which were species in the same plant family as the weed Anacardiaceae. These tests showed that this pathogen appears to be safe as its specificity to S. terebinthifolius was confirmed. Of particular significance is the fact that plants of Brazilian pepper tree that were included in the test representing sources from both Florida and Hawaii became severely diseased. This disease isolate is given the name forma specialis - Corynespora cassiicola f. sp. schinii is proposed herein. This, coupled with the high severity of the disease in the field and under controlled conditions, indicates that C. cassiicola f. sp. schinii has the potential to become a useful classical biocontrol agent for the management of Brazilian pepper tree in exotic invasive situations.

Technical Abstract: An isolate of Corynespora cassiicola was found in Brazil (state of Espírito Santo) causing a severe leaf spot and foliage blight on Schinus terebinthifolius (Anacardiaceae, Brazilian peppertree or ‘aroeira’) which is a major environmental weed in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the globe, including Florida, Hawaii and Australia. This plant has been the target of a classical biological control project involving pathogens collected in Brazil for several years. Examination of the morphology and ITS sequence analysis has confirmed that the fungus belongs to Corynespora cassiicola. A preliminary host-range test involving 25 species, including 11 species in the Anacardiaceae, besides S. terebinthifolius was conducted and its specificity to S. terebinthifolius was confirmed. Of particular significance is the fact that plants of Brazilian pepper tree that were included in the test representing biotypes from Florida and Hawaii became severely diseased. The recognition of a new forma specialis - Corynespora cassiicola f. sp. schinii is proposed herein. This, coupled with the high severity of the disease in the field and under controlled conditions, indicates that C. cassiicola f. sp. schinii has the potential to become a useful classical biocontrol agent for the management of Brazilian pepper tree in exotic invasive situations.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page