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Phytophthora cinnamomi

Brasier, C.M., Coffey, M.D., Hardy, G.E.St.J. and Werres, S. (2004) Phytophthora cinnamomi. EPPO Bulletin, 34 (2). pp. 201-207.

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Phytophthora cinnamomi is a soil-borne pathogen that causes crown and root rot of many horticultural, ornamental and forestry crops. It preferentially attacks 'feeder' roots. The geographical origin of P. cinnamomi is not clearly established. It was first described on Cinnamonum burmannii (Lauraceae) in Sumatra (ID) in 1922, but now has a nearly worldwide distribution, including most of Europe (CABI. 1991). The pathogen is found in tropical and subtropical countries and in the Mediterranean and some mild, temperate regions where it has almost certainly been introduced (EPPO/CABI, l998).

P. cinnamomi is the most widely distributed Phytophthora species, with over 1000 host species (Zentmeyer, 1983). The most significant food-crop losses due to P. cinnamomi root rot occur in avocado but the pathogen also attacks Ananas comosus, Castanea dentata and C. sativa, Cinchona spp., Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Cinnamomum spp., conifers, Ericaceae (including Rhododendron spp.), Eucalyptus spp., especially E. marginata. Fagus spp., Juglans spp., Pinus spp., Prunus spp., Quercus spp. and many ornamental trees and shrubs, including Vaccinium macrocarpon. It has caused extensive damage to natural Eucalyptus Forest in Western Australia.

The recorded host range includes most of the temperate fruit trees, but these are not relevant hosts in practice. In the EPPO region, the most significant hosts are nursery stock of ornamental and amenity trees and avocados, in the limited areas where they are grown. It has been reported to be the main causal agent of ink disease of C. sativa in southern France and has been indicated as a possible causal agent of oak decline in the Iberian Peninsula.

Propagules are spread by soil movement, including wind-blow or debris, or by water flow and run-off in drainage/irrigation ditches. Control is complicated by the very wide host range as well as by the longevity (often many years) of propagules (mainly sporangia and encysted zoospores) in nonsterile moist soil and root debris at depths at which soil fumigation is not always effective (Munnecke, 1984). Symptomless plants are a major means of spreading the pathogen to disease-free areas and this is the main problem for intensive production systems in the nursery industry. The first line of control is therefore planting disease-free stock. Imported plants for planting should be kept well separated in nurseries and preferably grown in containers for several months until their phytosanitary status has been checked. Strict hygiene should be observed at all times.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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