Mycological Progress

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 219–240 | Cite as

Molecular phylogenetic analyses reveal three new Ceratocystis species and provide evidence for geographic differentiation of the genus in Africa

  • Michael Mbenoun
  • Michael J. Wingfield
  • Aimé D. Begoude Boyogueno
  • Brenda D. Wingfield
  • Jolanda RouxEmail author
Original Article


The emergence of wattle wilt disease on non-native Acacia mearnsii trees in Africa, caused by the indigenous fungus Ceratocystis albifundus, has highlighted a need to better understand the diversity, ecology and distribution of Ceratocystis species in natural African environments. In this study we applied phylogenetic inference to identify and characterize isolates of Ceratocystis collected in a natural savanna ecosystem in South Africa. Three new species were recognized and are described as C. cryptoformis sp. nov. in the C. moniliformis complex, as well as C. thulamelensis sp. nov. and C. zambeziensis sp. nov., both residing in the C. fimbriata complex. Incorporating the new species into global phylogenies of Ceratocystis provided insights into the patterns of evolution and biogeography of this group of fungi. Notably, the African continent was identified as an important centre of diversification of Ceratocystis spp., from which several lineages of these fungi were shown to have radiated.


Biogeographic lineages Fungal plant pathogens GCPSR GMYC Microascales Savanna ecosystem Species delimitation 



This study was supported financially by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) of South Africa. We are grateful to the South African National Parks (SanParks) scientific services at Skukuza for technical and logistical assistance during the field survey and to Prof. Timothy Barraclough for his advice on using the GMYC model.


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Mbenoun
    • 1
  • Michael J. Wingfield
    • 1
  • Aimé D. Begoude Boyogueno
    • 1
    • 3
  • Brenda D. Wingfield
    • 2
  • Jolanda Roux
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), NkolbissonYaoundéCameroon

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