Phaeoacremonium minimum

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leaf symptoms of esca on grapevine (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Karl Bauer
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Phaeoacremonium minimum (Tul. & C. Tul.) D. Gramaje, L. Mostert & Crous 2015

The fungus causes wilting (esca) of grapevine in various wine-growing regions around the world. It can also infect other crops. The name 'esca' also describes grapevine diseases caused by other fungi, by combined infections, and apparently also by disorders.

In longitudinal sections, the grapevine trunk shows black streaks. Later a white rot develops in the centre of the trunk, bordered by a thick brown-red area. The same symptoms can be caused by Phaeomoniella chlamydospora. The trunk diameter of diseased grapevines is reduced and leaves show chlorosis, reddening or a "tiger stripe" pattern. There may be a shoot dieback in the spring or spotting ("measles") of the berries in autumn. The fungus is mainly transmitted during grafting. Ascospores can be trapped in vineyards and have been also found in water and plant debris.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: ESCA der Weinrebe
• English: esca of grapevine
• Español: yesca
• Français: esca de la vigne

The fungus is heterothallic and both mating types can be found in the same vineyard and on the same vine. Actually sexual reproduction appears to be the more common reproduction mode in the field. Perithecia can be found on dead vascular tissue in deep cracks along trunks and cordons or on the surfaces of decayed pruning wounds. Ascospores are ellipsoid and around 4-5 x 1½-2 μm large.

Synonyms:
Calosphaeria minima
Phaeoacremonium aleophilum
Pleurostoma minimum
Togninia minima (teleomorph synonym)