Citrus is an important and widely cultivated fruit crop in South China. Although the species of fungal diseases of leaves and fruits have been extensively studied, the causal organisms of branch diseases remain poorly known in China. Species of Botryosphaeriaceae are known as important fungal pathogens causing branch diseases on citrus in the USA and Europe. To determine the diversity of Botryosphaeriaceae species associated with citrus branch diseases in China, surveys were conducted in the major citrus-producing areas from 2017 to 2020. Diseased tissues were collected from twigs, branches and trunks with a range of symptoms including cankers, cracking, dieback and gummosis. Based on morphological characteristics and phylogenetic comparison of the DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the translation elongation factor 1-alpha gene (tef1), the β-tubulin gene (tub2) and the DNA-directed RNA polymerase II second largest subunit (rpb2), 111 isolates from nine provinces were identified as 18 species of Botryosphaeriaceae, including Botryosphaeria dothidea, B. fabicerciana, Diplodia seriata, Dothiorella alpina, Do. plurivora, Lasiodiplodia citricola, L. iraniensis, L. microconidia, L. pseudotheobromae, L. theobromae, Neodeightonia subglobosa, Neofusicoccum parvum, and six previously undescribed species, namely Do. citrimurcotticola, L. guilinensis, L. huangyanensis, L. linhaiensis, L. ponkanicola and Sphaeropsis linhaiensis spp. nov. Botryosphaeria dothidea (28.8%) was the most abundant species, followed by L. pseudotheobromae (23.4%), which was the most widely distributed species on citrus, occurring in six of the nine provinces sampled. Pathogenicity tests indicated that all 18 species of Botryosphaeriaceae obtained from diseased citrus tissues in this study were pathogenic to the tested Citrus reticulata shoots in vitro, while not all species are pathogenic to the tested Cocktail grapefruit (C. paradisi × C. reticulata) shoots in vivo. In addition, Lasiodiplodia was the most aggressive genus both in vitro and in vivo. This is the first study to identify Botryosphaeriaceae species related to citrus branch diseases in China and the results provide a theoretical basis for the implementation of prevention and control measures.

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Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi

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Naturalis journals & series

Xiao, X.E., Wang, W., Crous, P.W, Wang, H.K., Jiao, C., Huang, F., … Li, H.Y. (2021). Species of Botryosphaeriaceae associated with citrus branch diseases in China. Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 47, 106–135. doi:10.3767/persoonia.2021.47.03