Pine pitch canker and insects: Relationships and implications for disease spread in Europe

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The fungal pathogen Fusarium circinatum (Nirenberg and O' Donnell) is the causal agent of pine pitch canker (PPC) disease, which seriously affects conifer species in forests and nurseries worldwide. In Europe, PPC is only established in the Iberian Peninsula; however, it is presumed that its range could expand through the continent in the near future. Infection caused by this fungus requires open wounds on the tree, including physical damage caused by insects. Therefore, a relationship probably occurs between PPC and a wide variety of insects. The aim of this review is to outline the taxonomic and ecological diversity of insect species with high potential association with F. circinatum in Europe and elsewhere. The insects were classified as vectors, carriers and wounding agents according to the association level with the PPC disease. In addition, we discuss the insect-mediated spreading of PPC disease in relation to the different phases of forest stand development, from seeds and seedlings in nurseries to mature stands. Lastly, to improve our predictive capacities and to design appropriate intervention measures and strategies for controlling disease dissemination by insects, variables such as geographic location, time of the year and host species should be considered. Our review provides a framework of the multiple factors that regulate the insect-host interactions and determine the success of the infection.




Fernández-Fernández, M., Naves, P., Witzell, J., Musolin, D. L., Selikhovkin, A. V., Paraschiv, M., … Diez, J. J. (2019). Pine pitch canker and insects: Relationships and implications for disease spread in Europe. Forests. MDPI AG.

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