During the winter of 2018, 3-years-old trees of avocado (Persea americana) cv “Hass” from Trapani province (Sicily, Italy) showed symptoms of stem and crown rot. Two different fungi were consistently isolated from infected tissues. Morphological characterization and multi-locus phylogenies using five genomic loci (ITS, tef1, tub2, his3, and rpb2) identified these fungi as Cylindrocladiella peruviana and Pleiocarpon algeriense. Pathogenicity tests on healthy 5-months-old seedlings and 3-year-old trees of avocado reproduced similar symptoms as those observed in nature, and Koch’s postulates were fulfilled for both pathogens. Moreover, the tested fungal isolates revealed a different pathogenic behaviour among two species. Two isolates of Pleiocarpon algeriense resulted more aggressive than Cylindrocladiella peruviana isolates causing major lesions on young seedlings. This study is the first to report of stem and crown rot on avocado caused by Cylindrocladiella peruviana and Pleiocarpon algeriense.
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