Botryosphaeriaceae associated with the die-back of ornamental trees in the Western Balkans

06 May 2016

Extensive die-back andmortality of various ornamental trees and shrubs has been observed in parts of the Western Balkans region during the past decade. The disease symptomshave been typical of those caused by pathogens residing in the Botryosphaeriaceae. The aims of this study were to isolate and characterize Botryosphaeriaceae species associated with diseased ornamental trees in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Isolates were initially characterized based on the DNA sequence data for the internal transcribed spacer rDNA and six major clades were identified. Representative isolates from each clade were further characterized using DNA sequence data for the translation elongation factor 1-alpha, b-tubulin-2 and large subunit rRNA gene regions, as well as the morphology of the asexualmorphs.Ten species of theBotryosphaeriaceae were identified of which eight, i.e., Dothiorella sarmentorum, Neofusicoccum parvum, Botryosphaeria dothidea, Phaeobotryon cupressi, Sphaeropsis visci, Diplodia seriata, D. sapinea and D. mutila were known taxa. The remaining two species could be identified only as Dothiorella spp. Dichomera syn-asexual morphs of D. sapinea, Dothiorella sp. 2 and B. dothidea, aswell as unique morphological characters for a number of the known species are described. Based on host plants and geographic distribution, the majority of Botryosphaeriaceae species found represent new records. The results of this study contribute to our knowledge of the distribution, host associations and impacts of these fungi on trees in urban environments.