Molecular Plant Pathology – Pathogen Profiles

Genotypic and phenotypic diversity in Colletotrichum acutatum, a cosmopolitan pathogen causing anthracnose on a wide range of hosts


1 Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire CV35 9EF, UK
2 Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal

Summary:  Colletotrichum acutatum causes anthracnose on a wide range of hosts including woody and herbaceous crops, ornamentals, fruits and conifers. Almond, citrus, lupin, olive and strawberry are some of the crops in which C. acutatum diseases are economically important. With the application of molecular markers and diagnostic PCR over the last 10-15 years, which show some degree of correlation with the morphological characteristics and varying patterns of host association and geographical distribution. The pathogen has complex epidemiology, exhibiting pathogenic and non-pathogenic lifestyles on target hosts, non-target crops and weeds. C. acutatum populations also show pathogenic variability and cross-infection potential in relation to a number of hosts. Molecular genetic tools are being developed to investigate the pathogenicity mechanisms of this key pathogen. This article mainly focuses on the global population diversity in C. acutatum, pathogen epidemiology and diagnosis, host colonization processes, and the development of tools for the identification and analysis of genes associated with pathogenicity. Background information on the pathogen origin, host range, disease symptoms and disease management strategies is also provided.

Anthracnose symptoms caused by Colletotrichum acutatum on strawberry, white lupin and olive (left to right)