Diseases of eucalypts in Paraguay and first report of Teratosphaeria zuluensis from South America

16 Nov 2020

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The global forest economy is threatened by eucalypt pathogens which are often latent or cryptic species that escape common quarantine and detection methods. Plantation forestry using eucalypts is of considerable importance to Paraguay, but knowledge regarding the pests and diseases affecting these plantations is limited. This study identified fungal diseases present in these plantations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We surveyed eucalypt plantations in four provinces in Paraguay and collected material from diseased trees for identification of the causal agents. The samples were analyzed using a combination of morphological and molecular methods. RESULTS: Diseases encountered included Botryosphaeria stem canker, Calonectria leaf blight, Chrysoporthe stem canker, myrtle/eucalypt rust, Coniella leaf spot, heartwood rot and Teratosphaeria stem canker. Contrary to expectations, the causal agent of Teratosphaeria stem canker was identified as Teratosphaeria zuluensis (M.J. Wingf., Crous & T.A. Cout.) M.J. Wingf. & Crous and not Teratosphaeria gauchensis (M.-N. Cortinas, Crous & M.J. Wingf.) M.J. Wingf. & Crous, that is commonly documented for the South American region. CONCLUSIONS: This study updates the knowledge on forest fungal pathogens in Paraguayan eucalypt plantations and is the first report of T. zuluensis in Paraguay and in South America.