Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Fungi associated with black mould on baobab trees in southern Africa

  • Elsie M. Cruywagen
  • Pedro W. Crous
  • Jolanda Roux
  • Bernard Slippers
  • Michael J. Wingfield
Original Paper

Abstract

There have been numerous reports in the scientific and popular literature suggesting that African baobab (Adansonia digitata) trees are dying, with symptoms including a black mould on their bark. The aim of this study was to determine the identity of the fungi causing this black mould and to consider whether they might be affecting the health of trees. The fungi were identified by sequencing directly from mycelium on the infected tissue as well as from cultures on agar. Sequence data for the ITS region of the rDNA resulted in the identification of four fungi including Aureobasidium pullulans, Toxicocladosporium irritans and a new species of Rachicladosporium described here as Rachicladosporium africanum. A single isolate of an unknown Cladosporium sp. was also found. These fungi, referred to here as black mould, are not true sooty mould fungi and they were shown to penetrate below the bark of infected tissue, causing a distinct host reaction. Although infections can lead to dieback of small twigs on severely infected branches, the mould was not found to kill trees.

Keywords

Adansonia Aureobasidium Rachicladosporium Sooty mould 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank members of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP), the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), and the University of Pretoria, South Africa for the financial support that made this study possible. We also thank Dr. Sarah Venter for help in locating suitable trees for sampling in the Venda area and Dr. Martin Coetzee and Andrés de Errasti for help with sampling.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity CentreUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Genetics, CTHB, FABIUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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