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Forests 2017, 8(2), 48; doi:10.3390/f8020048

Laurel Wilt in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems: Understanding the Drivers and Scales of Complex Pathosystems

1
Tropical Research & Education Center, University of Florida, 18905 SW 280th Street, Homestead, FL 33031-3314, USA
2
USDA-ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research Station, Miami, FL 33158-1857, USA
3
Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
4
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 875 Komohana Street, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
5
Forest Health Research and Education Center, Southern Research Station, USDA-Forest Service, Lexington, KY 40517, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Matteo Garbelotto and Paolo Gonthier
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Pathology and Plant Health)
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Abstract

Laurel wilt kills members of the Lauraceae plant family in the southeastern United States. It is caused by Raffaelea lauricola T.C. Harr., Fraedrich and Aghayeva, a nutritional fungal symbiont of an invasive Asian ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus Eichhoff, which was detected in Port Wentworth, Georgia, in 2002. The beetle is the primary vector of R. lauricola in forests along the southeastern coastal plain of the United States, but other ambrosia beetle species that obtained the pathogen after the initial introduction may play a role in the avocado (Persea americana Miller) pathosystem. Susceptible taxa are naïve (new-encounter) hosts that originated outside Asia. In the southeastern United States, over 300 million trees of redbay (P. borbonia (L.) Spreng.) have been lost, and other North American endemics, non-Asian ornamentals and avocado—an important crop that originated in MesoAmerica—are also affected. However, there are no reports of laurel wilt on the significant number of lauraceous endemics that occur in the Asian homeland of R. lauricola and X. glabratus; coevolved resistance to the disease in the region has been hypothesized. The rapid spread of laurel wilt in the United States is due to an efficient vector, X. glabratus, and the movement of wood infested with the insect and pathogen. These factors, the absence of fully resistant genotypes, and the paucity of effective control measures severely constrain the disease’s management in forest ecosystems and avocado production areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: laurel wilt; Lauraceae; redbay; avocado; Raffaelea lauricola; Xyleborus glabratus; ambrosia beetles; coevolution laurel wilt; Lauraceae; redbay; avocado; Raffaelea lauricola; Xyleborus glabratus; ambrosia beetles; coevolution
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ploetz, R.C.; Kendra, P.E.; Choudhury, R.A.; Rollins, J.A.; Campbell, A.; Garrett, K.; Hughes, M.; Dreaden, T. Laurel Wilt in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems: Understanding the Drivers and Scales of Complex Pathosystems. Forests 2017, 8, 48.

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