Venturia oleaginea and Pseudocercospora cladosporioides are two of the most important olive fungal pathogens causing leaf spots: peacock spot, and cercosporiosis, respectively. In the present study, fungal communities associated with the presence of these pathogens were investigated. Overall, 300 symptomatic and asymptomatic trees from different cultivars were sampled from Alentejo, Portugal. A total of 788 fungal isolates were obtained and classified into 21 OTUs; Ascomycota was clearly the predominant phylum (96.6%). Trees from cultivar ‘Galega vulgar’ showed a significant higher fungal richness when compared to ‘Cobrançosa’, which in turn showed significant higher values than ‘Picual’. Concerning plant health status, symptomatic plants showed significant higher fungal richness, mainly due to the high number of isolates of the pathogens V. oleaginea and P. cladosporioides. In terms of fungal diversity, there were two major groups: ca. 90% of the isolates found in symptomatic plants belonged to V. oleaginea, P. cladosporioides, Chalara sp., and Foliophoma sp. while ca. 90% of the isolates found in asymptomatic plants, belonged to Alternaria sp. and Epicoccum sp. This study highlights the existence of different fungal communities in olive trees, including potential antagonistic organisms that can have a significant impact on diseases and consequently on olive production.
- Fungal communities
- Pseudocercospora cladosporioides
- Venturia oleaginea