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Identification and Characterization of Fungal Pathogens Causing Trunk and Branch Cankers of Almond Trees in Morocco

  • goura, khadija
  • lahlali, rachid
  • bouchane, ouafaa
  • baala, mohammed
  • nabil radouane
  • kenfaoui, jihane
  • ezrari, said
  • el hamss, hajar
  • el alami, nabila
  • amiri, said
  • barka, essaid ait
  • tahiri, abdessalem
Publication Date
Dec 30, 2022
DOI: 10.3390/agronomy13010130
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Canker symptoms were observed on almond trees in the Fez-Meknes region, Morocco. Isolations were conducted from the infected branch and trunk showing internal and external brown lesions. Four representative fungal isolates were screened, and their identities were confirmed by cultural traits and sequence analysis of DNA using two genes, the ITS region (internal transcribed spacer) and calmodulin (cmdA). The identified fungi were Curvularia hawaiiensis, Fusarium ambrosium, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, and Chondrestereum purpureum. The pathogenicity test on almond twigs revealed that these species were pathogenic to their host with different degrees of virulence, with Lasiodiplodia theobromae as the most virulent causing the longest necrotic lesion (285.17 mm) and the death of twigs. Physiological traits analysis of the above-mentioned fungi showed that the optimum mycelium growth response at different temperatures varies from 10 to 35 °C, while the pH ranges between 3.0 and 8.0. This study confirms the presence of canker pathogens on almond trees, which will contribute valuable information to improve the understanding of the contemporary status of almond trees, thus helping the improvement of the management of almond orchards. To our knowledge, all these fungi represent new records in Morocco and some of them are confirmed on the almond trees for the first time in the world.

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