European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 235–249 | Cite as

Diversity and pathogenicity of Botryosphaeriaceae on declining Ostrya carpinifolia in Slovenia and Italy following extreme weather conditions

  • Barbara Piškur
  • Draginja Pavlic
  • Bernard Slippers
  • Nikica Ogris
  • Giorgio Maresi
  • Michael J. Wingfield
  • Dušan Jurc
Original Paper


Unusual and extensive dieback of European hop hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia) has been observed in western Slovenia and northern Italy in recent years, when extreme drought and higher temperatures were recorded. A preliminary study identified Botryosphaeria dothidea as a potential causative agent of the dieback. Further characterization of intra- and interspecies diversity of Botryosphaeriaceae collected from O. carpinifolia and other tree species in the affected area was achieved based on anamorph morphology, sequence data from the ITS rDNA and EF1-α, PCR–RFLP analysis and AFLP profiles. The majority of the isolates analyzed were identified as B. dothidea, and in vitro pathogenicity tests re-confirmed the fungus to be an important cause of the disease. Insight into the B. dothidea population, diversity based on AFLP markers indicates that the dieback observed in O. carpinifolia is probably associated with a heterogenous population of B. dothidea, which emerged from a latent state in response to changed climate conditions. Isolates with Dothiorella-like conidia were also identified during the survey, but these were collected more rarely and appear to represent undescribed species. Isolates from Dothiorella genus expressed low pathogenicity in pathogenicity tests and proved no impact on the pathogenic ability of B. dothidea.


Botryosphaeria dothidea Dothiorella European hop hornbeam Latent pathogen Dieback Climate change 



The study was financed by the Slovenian Research Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of Republic of Slovenia through the research program P4-0107, projects L4-9585 and V4-0493, and Young Researcher Scheme for B. Piškur. Molecular studies were done in laboratories of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and funded by the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Piškur
    • 1
  • Draginja Pavlic
    • 2
  • Bernard Slippers
    • 3
  • Nikica Ogris
    • 1
  • Giorgio Maresi
    • 4
  • Michael J. Wingfield
    • 2
  • Dušan Jurc
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest ProtectionSlovenian Forestry InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Genetics, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.FEM-IASMA, Centre for Technology TransferSan Michele all’AdigeItaly

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