Phytophthora pinifolia nom. prov.
Significance: A new Phytophthora species, named Phytophthora pinifolia, has now been identified as the likely causal agent of a relatively new disease of Pinus radiata found in plantations in the southwestern region of the Biobío, in the Arauco province of Chile. The disease, which was first observed around 2003, is locally referred to as "Daño Foliar del Pino" (DFP). Characterized by a relatively rapid death of needles and subsequent defoliation of trees, infections typically appear in the late autumn, coinciding with the onset of rain. While diseased trees can sometimes recover the following growing season, others may become re-infected, have a reduced growth rate, and become more susceptible to attack by other pathogens. If infected in their first year of growth, the pathogen can cause death. Isolations on selective media, morphological examinations, and DNA sequencing have led researchers to conclude that this is a new species of Phytophthora, for which the name Phytophthora pinifolia nom. prov. has been proposed. Scientists with the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute of South Africa (http://www.fabinet.up.ac.za) are continuing to investigate the possible origins of this Oomycete and how best to manage its associated disease.
Issues of Concern: This new species of Phytophthora appears to be a relatively significant pathogen of Pinus radiata grown under plantation conditions. More information on the epidemiology and host range of this species is required in order to better assess the importance of this pathogen as a pest of pines.
Wingfield, M. J., 2007. A New Species of Phytophthora Associated with Dying Pine Needles in Chile. Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001. South Africa. http://www.fabinet.up.ac.za/tpcp/pinifolia