Curvularia malina sp. nov causal agent of a new turfgrass disease

Figure 1. Field and foliar symptoms of Curvularia malina on turfgrass.

Figure 1. Field and foliar symptoms of Curvularia malina on zoysiagrass (A) and bermudagrass (B, C).

Recently, a strange ink spill looking turfgrass disease was reported in Science Daily. Warm season turfgrasses of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass were developing symptoms of black to chocolate brown spots, in 2-15 cm diameter patches on golf course putting greens, fairways and tee boxes. The initial symptoms manifest in the form of small purple black spots, developing into necrotic dark brown centers enveloped by brownish-black margins on leaves (Figure 1). Two universities (Mississippi State University, Texas A&M) independently isolated a sterile fungus with dark mycelia, and similar symptoms were reported in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, China and Japan, indicating global prevalence. Similar foliar diseases of warm season turfgrasses have been previously reported with in the genus of Curvularia. Koch’s postulates were completed with two isolates to confirm the causal agent. Then multilocus phylogenetic analyses of the ITS region (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2), glyeraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1) and translational elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1) were completed on 16 isolates to reveal relationships of the unidentified sterile fungus to similar Curvularia ex-types and reference cultures. The phylogenetic tree revealed all the isolates fell into a single clade, supported by 96% maximum likelihood bootstrapping and Bayesian posterior probably of 1.0, indicating a new species of Curvularia. The epithet, malina, is derived from the dark color of the mycelia and the dark, inky stained symptomology of this disease.



To find more information:

Texas A&M AgriLife. “Spooky new fungal disease on southern golf courses unmasked.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2016. <>.

Tomaso-Peterson, Y.-K. Jo, P. L. Vines, F. G. Hoffmann.Curvularia malina sp. nov. incites a new disease of warm-season turfgrasses in the southeastern United States.Mycologia, 2016; 108 (5): 915 DOI: 10.3852/15-238



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