Outbreak of Phytophthora cinnamomi causing severe decline of avocado trees in southern Turkey

I. Kurbetli* (Corresponding Author), G. Sülü, M. Aydoğdu, S. Woodward, S. Bayram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Since the summer of 2017, severe decline symptoms have been observed on 10- to 25-year-old avocado trees in almost all commercial orchards planted in the Mediterranean coastal region of Turkey. Young, newly planted trees in infected orchards were also affected by the disease. Affected trees showed wilting, leaf discoloration, defoliation and severe dieback. Some trees were completely desiccated. Although fine roots of symptomatic trees usually were decayed, reddish brown cankers also occurred on taproots and lateral roots, of heavily infected trees. The pathogens were isolated from necrotic root and soil samples of symptomatic trees, using selective medium and soil baiting, and were identified based on morphological features and DNA sequences. One isolate each of Phytophthora cryptogea and P. palmivora were identified, while all other isolates were P. cinnamomi. In addition, a subcortical fan-shaped mycelium, characteristic of Armillaria spp. was observed in the crown of a symptomatic tree and identified as Armillaria gallica by DNA sequences. Pathogenicity of Phytophthora isolates was tested by stem inoculation on avocado
seedlings. Two months after inoculation, canker lesions developed on stems of seedlings inoculated by any of the three Phytophthora spp.. In contrast, collenchyma callus formed over the wound points on control plants over the same time period. This is the first report of P. cinnamomi, P. cryptogea, P. palmivora and A. gallica causing root rot of avocado trees in Turkey. In addition, P.cryptogea and A. gallica are reported for the first time associated with disease on this host. Due to the severe symptoms and widespread occurrence, P. cinnamomi should be considered a potential threat to avocado cultivation and natural ecosystems of this region of Turkey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-541
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Phytopathology
Issue number9
Early online date16 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by Bati Akdeniz Agricultural Research Institute (BATEM), and we appreciate the help of the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. We are also thankful to Dr Emrah Yıldırım for preparation of the map.


  • dieback
  • oomycete
  • Persea americana
  • root rot


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