Submitted to: Molecular Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2008
Publication Date: 7/11/2008
Citation: Meinhardt, L.W., Rincones, J., Bailey, B.A., Aime, M.C., Griffith, C., Zhang, D., Pereira, G. 2008. Moniliophthora perniciosa, the causal agent of witches’ broom disease of cacao: What’s new from this old foe. Molecular Plant Pathology. 9(5):577-588.
Technical Abstract: Moniliophthora perniciosa, formerly known as Crinipellis perniciosa, causes one of the three main fungal diseases of Theobroma cacao (cacao), the source of chocolate. This pathogen causes Witches’ Broom Disease and has bought about severe economic losses and social upheaval in all of the cacao-growing regions to which it has spread. The history of cacao production in South America reflects the severity of this pathogen. Together with its close relative Moniliophthora roreri, diseases caused by M. perniciosa has relegated most of the countries of South and Central America to minor cacao producers that must compete for specialty markets or in most cases, must now import cacao to satisfy their own internal needs. This review briefly summarizes recent advances in the areas of systematics, biochemistry, genomics and fungal physiology have greatly increased our understanding of this pathosystem and may provide the needed information to develop and apply new control measures for this old foe.