STUDIES ON ANTHOSTOMA DECIPIENS INVOLVED IN CARPINUS BETULUS DECLINE
F. Rocchi, S. Quaroni, P. Sardi, M. Saracchi
Carpinus betulus L. (European or common hornbeam) is well known for its rustic nature and adaptability, which make it a very important tree in private and public green areas. During the last few years, many cases of decline and death of these trees were reported in different Italian regions, and because of its lethal outcome, this disease was termed “Carpinus betulus decline.” Laboratory analysis aimed at isolating the etiological agents of this disease ascertained the frequent presence of two different fungi in the same canker, and experimental infections confirmed that both fungi are hornbeam pathogens. The aim of this work is to describe the taxonomic determination of one of the fungi. On the bases of symptoms, morphocultural and micromorphological characteristics, this fungus, which produces red-spore masses on hornbeam bark, was identified as Anthostoma decipiens (DC.: Fr) Nitschke, anamorph Cytospora decipiens Sacc. To date, no Anthostoma- related DNA sequences have been published, and comparison of ITS1, ITS2, and partial beta-tubulin nucleotide sequences with those present in the international databases gave no help in identifying the pathogen. Therefore, the sequences obtained were deposited in the EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database. A specific primer, to be used for PCR reactions in combination with the standard primer ITS4, and located 80 nucleotides next to the 3’-end of ITS1 primer, named REX, was selected, synthesized, and tested.