Special Issue "Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Bruno Scanu
Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Agraria, Sezione di Patologia vegetale ed Entomologia, Università degli Studi di Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: forest pathology; diversity, biology and taxonomy of fungal pathogens and oomycetes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Thomas Jung
Website
Guest Editor
Phytophthora Research Centre, Mendel University, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Interests: diversity, biogeography, ecology, pathology and evolution of Phytophthora species; their impacts on natural and semi-natural ecosystems; their pathways and possible management and control options for Phytophthora diseases
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The oomycete genus Phytophthora represents one of the most notorious groups of tree pathogens in natural and semi-natural forest ecosystems. Since the discovery in the 1960s of the invasive P. cinnamomi, threatening some of the world’s richest plant communities in Australia, numerous Phytophthora diseases have been reported on forest trees worldwide which were previously unknown to science. The most notable examples include the oak and beech declines triggered by different Phytophthora spp. in Europe and North America, the finding of ‘Sudden Oak Death’ and ‘Sudden Larch Death’ caused by P. ramorum in the Western USA and the UK, respectively, and the association of P. austrocedri with the ‘mal del ciprés’ in Argentina and juniper decline in the UK. All these epidemic events are driven by exotic invasive Phytophthora species, introduced through infested nursery plants from their native overseas environments. In recent years, many independent surveys have studied the diversity of Phytophthora species and the diseases they are causing across a diverse range of forests and other natural ecosystems. This Special Issue is presenting papers on Phytophthora surveys performed in different biogeographic regions and addresses the pathways, and ecological and economic impacts of these invasive forest pathogens, and possible control strategies.

Dr. Bruno Scanu
Dr. Thomas Jung
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Epidemic
  • Forest decline
  • Invasive pathogens
  • Oomycetes
  • Root rot

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
An Overview of Phytophthora Species Inhabiting Declining Quercus suber Stands in Sardinia (Italy)
Forests 2020, 11(9), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090971 - 08 Sep 2020
Abstract
Cork oak forests are of immense importance in terms of economic, cultural, and ecological value in the Mediterranean regions. Since the beginning of the 20th century, these forests ecosystems have been threatened by several factors, including human intervention, climate change, wildfires, pathogens, and [...] Read more.
Cork oak forests are of immense importance in terms of economic, cultural, and ecological value in the Mediterranean regions. Since the beginning of the 20th century, these forests ecosystems have been threatened by several factors, including human intervention, climate change, wildfires, pathogens, and pests. Several studies have demonstrated the primary role of the oomycete Phytophthora cinnamomi Ronds in the widespread decline of cork oaks in Portugal, Spain, southern France, and Italy, although other congeneric species have also been occasionally associated. Between 2015 and 2019, independent surveys were undertaken to determine the diversity of Phytophthora species in declining cork oak stands in Sardinia (Italy). Rhizosphere soil samples were collected from 39 declining cork oak stands and baited in the laboratory with oak leaflets. In addition, the occurrence of Phytophthora was assayed using an in-situ baiting technique in rivers and streams located throughout ten of the surveyed oak stands. Isolates were identified by means of both morphological characters and sequence analysis of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of ribosomal DNA. In total, 14 different Phytophthora species were detected. Phytophthora cinnamomi was the most frequently isolated species from rhizosphere soil, followed by P. quercina, P. pseudocryptogea, and P. tyrrhenica. In contrast, P. gonapodyides turned out to be the most dominant species in stream water, followed by P. bilorbang, P. pseudocryptogea, P. lacustris, and P. plurivora. Pathogenicity of the most common Phytophthora species detected was tested using both soil infestation and log inoculation methods. This study showed the high diversity of Phytophthora species inhabiting soil and watercourses, including several previously unrecorded species potentially involved in the decline of cork oak forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Decline of European Beech in Austria: Involvement of Phytophthora spp. and Contributing Biotic and Abiotic Factors
Forests 2020, 11(8), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11080895 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
A severe decline and dieback of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) stands have been observed in Austria in recent decades. From 2008 to 2010, the distribution and diversity of Phytophthora species and pathogenic fungi and pests were surveyed in 34 beech forest [...] Read more.
A severe decline and dieback of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) stands have been observed in Austria in recent decades. From 2008 to 2010, the distribution and diversity of Phytophthora species and pathogenic fungi and pests were surveyed in 34 beech forest stands in Lower Austria, and analyses performed to assess the relationships between Phytophthora presence and various parameters, i.e. root condition, crown damage, ectomycorrhizal abundance and site conditions. In total, 6464 trees were surveyed, and Phytophthora-associated collar rot and aerial bark cankers were detected on 133 trees (2.1%) in 25 stands (73.5%). Isolations tests were performed from 103 trees in 27 stands and seven Phytophthora species were isolated from bleeding bark cankers and/or from the rhizosphere soil of 49 trees (47.6%) in 25 stands (92.6%). The most common species were P. ×cambivora (16 stands) followed by P. plurivora (eight stands) and P. cactorum (four stands), while P. gonapodyides, P. syringae, P. psychrophila and P. tubulina were each found in only one stand. Geological substrate had a significant effect on the distribution of P. ×cambivora and P. plurivora while P. cactorum showed no site preferences. In addition, 21 fungal species were identified on beech bark, of which 19 and five species were associated with collar rot and aerial bark cankers, respectively. Four tested fine root parameters showed differences between declining and non-declining beech trees in both Phytophthora-infested and Phytophthora-free stands. In both stand categories, ectomycorrhizal frequency of fine root tips was significantly higher in non-declining than in declining trees. This study confirmed the involvement of Phytophthora species in European beech decline and underlines the need of more research on the root condition of beech stands and other biotic and abiotic factors interacting with Phytophthora infections or causing beech decline in absence of Phytophthora. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Small-Scale Abiotic Factors Influencing the Spatial Distribution of Phytophthora cinnamomi under Declining Quercus ilex Trees
Forests 2020, 11(4), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040375 - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Phytophthora root rot is considered one of the main factors associated with holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) mortality. The effectiveness and accuracy of soilborne pathogen and management could be influenced by soil spatial heterogeneity. This factor is of special relevance in many [...] Read more.
Phytophthora root rot is considered one of the main factors associated with holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) mortality. The effectiveness and accuracy of soilborne pathogen and management could be influenced by soil spatial heterogeneity. This factor is of special relevance in many afforestation of southwestern Spain, which were carried out without phytosanitary control of the nursery seedlings. We selected a study area located in a 15 year-old afforestation of Q. ilex, known to be infested by Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands. Soil samples (ntotal = 132) were taken systematically from a grid under 4 trees, and analysed to quantify 12 variables, the colony forming units (cfu) of P. cinnamomi plus 11 physical and chemical soil properties. The combined analysis of all variables was performed with linear mixed models (GLMM), and the spatial patterns of cfu were characterised using an aggregation index (Ia) and a clustering index (ν) by SADIE. Cfu values ranged from 0 to 211 cfu g−1, and the GLMM built with the variables silt, P, K and soil moisture explained the cfu distribution to the greatest extent. The spatial analysis showed that 9 of the 12 variables presented spatial aggregation (Ia > 1), and the clustering of local patches (νi ≥ 1.5) for organic matter, silt, and Ca. The spatial patterns of the P. cinnamomi cfu under planted holm oak trees are related to edaphic variables and canopy cover. Small-scale spatial analysis of microsite variability can predict which areas surrounding trees can influence lower oomycetes cfu availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
A Survey in Natural Forest Ecosystems of Vietnam Reveals High Diversity of both New and Described Phytophthora Taxa including P. ramorum
Forests 2020, 11(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010093 - 12 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
In 2016 and 2017, surveys of Phytophthora diversity were performed in 25 natural and semi-natural forest stands and 16 rivers in temperate and subtropical montane and tropical lowland regions of Vietnam. Using baiting assays from soil samples and rivers and direct isolations from [...] Read more.
In 2016 and 2017, surveys of Phytophthora diversity were performed in 25 natural and semi-natural forest stands and 16 rivers in temperate and subtropical montane and tropical lowland regions of Vietnam. Using baiting assays from soil samples and rivers and direct isolations from naturally fallen leaves, 13 described species, five informally designated taxa and 21 previously unknown taxa of Phytophthora were isolated from 58 of the 91 soil samples (63.7%) taken from the rhizosphere of 52 of the 64 woody plant species sampled (81.3%) in 20 forest stands (83.7%), and from all rivers: P. capensis, P. citricola VII, VIII, IX, X and XI, P. sp. botryosa-like 2, P. sp. meadii-like 1 and 2, P. sp. tropicalis-like 2 and P. sp. multivesiculata-like 1 from Phytophthora major phylogenetic Clade 2; P. castaneae and P. heveae from Clade 5; P. chlamydospora, P. gregata, P. sp. bitahaiensis-like and P. sp. sylvatica-like 1, 2 and 3 from Clade 6; P. cinnamomi (Pc), P. parvispora, P. attenuata, P. sp. attenuata-like 1, 2 and 3 and P. ×heterohybrida from Clade 7; P. drechsleri, P. pseudocryptogea, P. ramorum (Pr) and P. sp. kelmania from Clade 8, P. macrochlamydospora, P. sp. ×insolita-like, P. sp. ×kunnunara-like, P. sp. ×virginiana-like s.l. and three new taxa, P. sp. quininea-like, P. sp. ×Grenada 3-like and P. sp. ×Peru 4-like, from Clade 9; and P. sp. gallica-like 1 and 2 from Clade 10. The A1 and A2 mating types of both Pc and Pr co-occurred. The A2 mating type of Pc was associated with severe dieback of montane forests in northern Vietnam. Most other Phytophthora species, including Pr, were not associated with obvious disease symptoms. It is concluded that (1) Vietnam is within the center of origin of most Phytophthora taxa found including Pc and Pr, and (2) Phytophthora clades 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are native to Indochina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Diversity of Phytophthora Species Associated with Quercus ilex L. in Three Spanish Regions Evaluated by NGS
Forests 2019, 10(11), 979; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10110979 - 05 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The diversity of Phytophthora species in declining Fagaceae forests in Europe is increasing in the last years. The genus Quercus is one of the most extended Fagaceae genera in Europe, and Q. ilex is the dominant tree in Spain. The introduction of soil-borne [...] Read more.
The diversity of Phytophthora species in declining Fagaceae forests in Europe is increasing in the last years. The genus Quercus is one of the most extended Fagaceae genera in Europe, and Q. ilex is the dominant tree in Spain. The introduction of soil-borne pathogens, such as Phytophthora in Fagaceae forests modifies the microbial community present in the rhizosphere, and has relevant environmental and economic consequences. A better understanding of the diversity of Phytophthora spp. associated with Q. ilex is proposed in this study by using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in six Q. ilex stands located in three regions in Spain. Thirty-seven Phytophthora phylotypes belonging to clades 1 to 12, except for clades 4, 5 and 11, are detected in this study, which represents a high diversity of Phytophthora species in holm oak Spanish forests. Phytophthora chlamydospora, P. citrophthora, P. gonapodyides, P. lacustris, P. meadii, P. plurivora, P. pseudocryptogea, P. psychrophila and P. quercina were present in the three regions. Seven phylotypes could not be associated with known Phytophthora species, so they were putatively named as Phytophthora sp. Most of the detected phylotypes corresponded to terrestrial Phytophthora species but aquatic species from clades 6 and 9 were also present in all regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytophthora Species from Xinjiang Wild Apple Forests in China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 927; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100927 - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Phytophthora species are well-known destructive forest pathogens, especially in natural ecosystems. The wild apple (Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem.) is the primary ancestor of M. domestica (Borkh.) and important germplasm resource for apple breeding and improvement. During the period from 2016 to 2018, [...] Read more.
Phytophthora species are well-known destructive forest pathogens, especially in natural ecosystems. The wild apple (Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem.) is the primary ancestor of M. domestica (Borkh.) and important germplasm resource for apple breeding and improvement. During the period from 2016 to 2018, a survey of Phytophthora diversity was performed at four wild apple forest plots (Xin Yuan (XY), Ba Lian (BL), Ku Erdening (KE), and Jin Qikesai (JQ)) on the northern slopes of Tianshan Mountain in Xinjiang, China. Phytophthora species were isolated from baiting leaves from stream, canopy drip, and soil samples and were identified based on morphological observations and the rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence analysis. This is the first comprehensive study from Xinjiang to examine the Phytophthora communities in wild apple forests The 621 resulting Phytophthora isolates were found to reside in 10 different Phytophthora species: eight known species (P. lacustris being the most frequent, followed by P. gonapodyides, P. plurivora, P. gregata, P. chlamydospora, P. inundata, P. virginiana, and P. cactorum) and two previously unrecognized species (P. sp. CYP74 and P. sp. forestsoil-like). The highest species richness of Phytophthora occurred at BL, followed by XY. P. lacustris was the dominant species at BL, XY, and JQ, while P. gonapodyides was the most common at KE. In the present paper, the possible reasons for their distribution, associated implications, and associated diseases are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora gonapodyides Differently Colonize and Contribute to the Decomposition of Green and Senesced Umbellularia californica Leaves in a Simulated Stream Environment
Forests 2019, 10(5), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050434 - 20 May 2019
Abstract
Plant pathogenic as well as saprotrophic Phytophthora species are now known to inhabit forest streams and other surface waters. How they survive and function in aquatic ecosystems, however, remains largely uninvestigated. Phytophthora ramorum, an invasive pathogen in California forests, regularly occurs in [...] Read more.
Plant pathogenic as well as saprotrophic Phytophthora species are now known to inhabit forest streams and other surface waters. How they survive and function in aquatic ecosystems, however, remains largely uninvestigated. Phytophthora ramorum, an invasive pathogen in California forests, regularly occurs in forest streams, where it can colonize green leaves shed in the stream but is quickly and largely succeeded by saprotrophically competent clade 6 Phytophthora species, such as Phytophthora gonapodyides. We investigated, using controlled environment experiments, whether leaf litter quality, based on senescence, affects how P. ramorum and P. gonapodyides compete in leaf colonization and to what extent each species can contribute to leaf decomposition. We found that both Phytophthora species effectively colonized and persisted on green or yellow (senescing) bay leaves, but only P. gonapodyides could also colonize and persist on brown (fully senesced and dried) leaves. Both Phytophthora species similarly accelerated the decomposition of green leaves and yellow leaves compared with non-inoculated controls, but colonization of brown leaves by P. gonapodyides did not affect their decomposition rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Diversity and Distribution of Phytophthora Species in Protected Natural Areas in Sicily
Forests 2019, 10(3), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030259 - 14 Mar 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence, diversity, and distribution of Phytophthora species in Protected Natural Areas (PNAs), including forest stands, rivers, and riparian ecosystems, in Sicily (Italy), and assessing correlations with natural vegetation and host plants. Fifteen forest stands [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence, diversity, and distribution of Phytophthora species in Protected Natural Areas (PNAs), including forest stands, rivers, and riparian ecosystems, in Sicily (Italy), and assessing correlations with natural vegetation and host plants. Fifteen forest stands and 14 rivers in 10 Sicilian PNAs were studied. Phytophthora isolations from soil and stream water were performed using leaf baitings. Isolates were identified using both morphological characters and sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. A rich community of 20 Phytophthora species from eight phylogenetic clades, including three new Phytophthora taxa, was recovered (17 species in rhizosphere soil from forest stands and 12 species in rivers). New knowledge about the distribution, host associations, and ecology of several Phytophthora species was provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Differences in the Response to Acute Drought and Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands Infection in Quercus ilex L. Seedlings
Forests 2018, 9(10), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100634 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
The sustainability of “dehesas” is threatened by the Holm oak decline. It is thought that the effects of root rot on plant physiology vary depending on external stress factors. Plant growth and biomass allocation are useful tools to characterize differences in the response [...] Read more.
The sustainability of “dehesas” is threatened by the Holm oak decline. It is thought that the effects of root rot on plant physiology vary depending on external stress factors. Plant growth and biomass allocation are useful tools to characterize differences in the response to drought and infection. The study of physiological responses together with growth patterns will clarify how and to what extent root rot is able to damage the plant. A fully factorial experiment, including drought and Phytophtora cinnamomi Rands infection as factors, was carried out with Quercus ilex L. seedlings. Photosynthesis, biomass allocation and root traits were assessed. Photosynthetic variables responded differently to drought and infection over time. The root mass fraction showed a significant reduction due to infection. P. cinnamomi root rot altered the growth patterns. Plants could not recover from the physiological effects of infection only when the root rot coincided with water stress. Without additional stressors, the strategy of our seedlings in the face of root rot was to reduce the biomass increment and reallocate resources. Underlying mechanisms involved in plant-pathogen interactions should be considered in the study of holm oak decline, beyond the consideration of water stress as the primary cause of tree mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Isolation and Pathogenicity of Phytophthora Species from Poplar Plantations in Serbia
Forests 2018, 9(6), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060330 - 06 Jun 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
During a survey in three declining and three healthy poplar plantations in Serbia, six different Phytophthora species were obtained. Phytophthora plurivora was the most common, followed by P. pini, P. polonica, P. lacustris, P. cactorum, and P. gonapodyides. [...] Read more.
During a survey in three declining and three healthy poplar plantations in Serbia, six different Phytophthora species were obtained. Phytophthora plurivora was the most common, followed by P. pini, P. polonica, P. lacustris, P. cactorum, and P. gonapodyides. Pathogenicity of all isolated species to four-month and one-year-old cuttings of Populus hybrid clones I-214 and Pánnonia, respectively, was tested using both a soil infestation and stem inoculation test. Isolates of P. polonica, P. × cambivora, P. cryptogea, and P. × serendipita from other host plants were included as a comparison. In the soil infestation test, the most aggressive species to clone I-214 were P. plurivora, P. × serendipita, and P. pini. On clone Pánnonia, P. gonapodyides and P. pini were the most aggressive, both causing 100% mortality, followed by P. cactorum, P. × cambivora, and P. polonica. In the underbark inoculation test, the susceptibility of both poplar clones to the different Phytophthora species was largely similar, as in the soil infestation test, with the exception of P. polonica, which proved to be only weakly pathogenic to poplar bark. The most aggressive species to clone I-214 was P. pini, while on clone Pánnonia, the longest lesions and highest disease incidence were caused by P. gonapodyides. Phytophthora cactorum and P. plurivora were pathogenic to both clones, whereas P. × cambivora showed only weak pathogenicity. The implications of these findings and possible pathways of dispersion of the pathogens are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytophthora Infestations in Forest Ecosystems)
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