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Research Project: Developing Pathogen- and Plant-Based Genetic Tools for Breeding Disease Resistance in Theobroma cacao

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Title: Chocolate under threat from old and new cacao diseases

item GUEST, DAVID - University Of Sydney
item Bailey, Bryan
item EVANS, HARRY - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI)
item BROWN, JUDITH - University Of Arizona
item JUANID, MOHAMMAD - University Of Sydney
item BARRETO, ROBERT - Universidade Federal De Vicosa
item LISBOA, DANIELA - Universidade Federal De Vicosa
item Puig, Alina

Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2019
Publication Date: 5/22/2019
Citation: Philippe Marelli, J., Guest, D.I., Bailey, B.A., Evans, H., Brown, J.K., Juanid, M., Barreto, R.W., Lisboa, D.O., Puig, A.S. 2019. Chocolate under threat from old and new cacao diseases. Phytopathology.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Theobroma cacao, the source of cocoa beans, is affected by voracious plant pathogens in all the locations where it is grown. The most losses are caused by several Phytophthora spp., P. megakarya being the most destructive in West Africa. The second greatest losses are due to the genus Moniliopthora. The two sister basidiomycete species, M. perniciosa and M. roreri only occur in South and Central America, but have significantly limited the production of cacao in the continent since the beginnings of cacao cultivation. Another basidiomycete, Ceratobasidium theobromae, obligate parasite that is still poorly understood affects the crop in South-East Asia. Lastly, a viral disease, Cacao swollen shoot, is rapidly expanding in West Africa, for which the only solution is removal of infected trees. This review will present for each of these pathogens, the latest research about their biology, taxonomy, genomics and management to shed new light on these once obscure diseases that for the most part represent new ‘pathogen’ encounters with cacao after it was transported from its origin in the Amazon rain forest, to ‘exotic’ cultivated sites throughout the world.