A novel Fomitiporia species associated with esca on grapevine in South Africa
Esca disease of grapevine is a complex trunk disease consisting of several symptoms, one of which, white rot, has been found to be caused by various basidiomycetes within the order Hymenochaetales. During recent surveys of escarelated pathogens in South African vineyards, several unidentified basidiomycetes were isolated from white rot occurring in diseased vines. A new Fomitiporia species, F. capensis, is described based on fruit body morphology and combined internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and large-subunit (LSU) phylogeny, where it forms a clearly delineated and well-supported clade. Morphologically, F. capensis is similar to F. punctata in that both species essentially lack setae. Fomitiporia capensis, F. punctata and F. aethiopica produce similarly sized basidiospores but differ in terms of host range, pore size and, possibly, fruit body shape. Phylogenetically, F. capensis appears to be related to F. tenuis, though morphologically, the species differ significantly in that F. tenuis has smaller pores and smaller basidiospores. Fomitiporia capensis was found to occur widely as vegetativemyceliumthroughout theWestern Cape Province, though fruit bodies were scarce in comparison. A vineyard with fruit bodies was also found in Limpopo in the north east of the country. Fruit bodies were found growing on the underside of the cordon of living vines displaying external symptoms typically associated with esca, or general decline and dieback symptoms together with internal white rot.