Die-back of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) causes substantial losses in commercial Aspalathus plantations in South Africa. In the past, the disease has been attributed to Phomopsis phaseoli (teleomorph: Diaporthe phaseolorum). Isolates obtained from diseased plants, however, were highly variable with regard to morphology and pathogenicity. The aim of the present study was thus to identify the Phomopsis species associated with die-back of rooibos. Isolates were subjected to DNA sequence comparisons of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2) and partial sequences of the translation elongation factor-1 alpha gene. Furthermore, isolates were also compared in glasshouse inoculation trials on 8-mo-old potted plants to evaluate their pathogenicity. Five species were identified, of which D. aspalathi (formerly identified as D. phaseolorum or D. phaseolorum var. meridionalis) proved to be the most virulent, followed by D. ambigua, Phomopsis theicola, one species of Libertella and Phomopsis, respectively, and a newly described species, P. cuppatea. A description is also provided for D. ambigua based on a newly designated epitype specimen.
|Journal||Studies in Mycology|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
van Rensburg, J. C. J., Lamprecht, S. C., Groenewald, J. Z., Castlebury, L. A., & Crous, P. W. (2006). Characterisation of Phomopsis spp. associated with die-back of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) in South Africa. Studies in Mycology, 55, 65-74.