Current issue: 54(2)
Several eastern European countries have reported outbreaks of oak die-back during the 1980’s. Species of Ophiostoma Syd. were isolated from diseased trees and have been suggested to be the possible causal agents of the die-back, but this view have generally not been accepted. In order to monitor the post-outbreak region of oak die-back and to consider the possible role of Ophiostoma spp. in the syndrome, research has been conducted in the Tellerman forest, Voronezh region, Russia between 2005 and 2011. Our study resulted in the isolation of ophiostomatoid fungi from Quercus robur L. trees displaying external signs of desiccation. Fungi were identified based on morphological characteristics and DNA sequence comparisons. Three species of Ophiostoma were identified including O. grandicarpum (Kowalski & Butin) Rulamort, a species closely related to O. abietinum Marm. & Butin, O. fusiforme Aghayeva & M.J. Wingf. and O. lunatum Aghayeva & M.J. Wingf. representing a poorly understood species complex, and most commonly O. quercus (Georgev.) Nannf. Pathogenicity of these fungi was tested using artificial inoculations on Q. robur trees. The fungi were shown to be non-pathogenic and unlikely to play any role in oak die-back. These fungi are most likely only components in a complex of abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors that have contributed to a die-back of Quercus spp. in Russia.