Phytophthora palmivora: A New Pathogen of Olive Trees in Morocco
Keywords:Olive tree crown dieback, root rot, defoliation, Phytophthora palmivora, Koch’s postulate, pathogenicity
In spring of 2012, olive-trees with crown dieback, root rot and defoliation were observed in two years old olive tree in commercial plantations of tree nurseries in Sidi Taibi and in twenty to fifty years old field trees in Souk El Arbaa olive crops in Northwest of Morocco (Gharb area). The objective of this study was to isolate the responsible pathogen of the observed symptoms to the olive trees, to demonstrate its pathogenicity and fulfill the Koch´s postulate. Phytophthora palmivora was consistently isolated from roots (56%) and stems (73.6%) of the young olive trees and 85% from stems of field trees. Koch’s postulate was completed using two isolates of Phytophthora palmivora on 2-year old plants of Dahbia and Haouzia varieties grafted onto wild olive-trees. The affected branches percentages (Pab%) of the inoculated olive plants with the isolate 1 were higher (81.8% for Dahbia and 68% for Haouzia) than those what were inoculated with the isolate 2 (43% for Dahbia and 32% for Haouzia). The reisolation percentages (Pr%) of isolate 1 (84%) and isolate 2 (76%) in the roots of Dahbia variety were higher than isolate 1 (48%) and isolate 2 (55%) in roots of Haouzia variety. The reisolation percentage of isolate 1 in the stem of Dahbia (64%) was higher than that in the stem of Haouzia (41.33%). No significant difference was observed between the Reisolation percentages of isolate 2 in stem of Dahbia olive plants (38%) and in stem of Haouzia olive plants (33%). The pathogenicity of P. palmivora was demonstrated in the olive plants and this was the first report of this pathogen in Moroccan olive trees.