Morphological identification of fungi associated with Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.-Solms) Laubach in the Wouri River Basin, Douala, Cameroon
In many parts of the world, excess growth of Eichhornia crassipes (Pontederiaceae) poses a serious threat to aquatic environments. In Cameroon, where manual clearing is still undertaken, little is known about fungal diversity associated with the plant, or its potential for biological control. Surveys of the Wouri River Basin in the Littoral Region of Cameroon were conducted during a rainy season (May–October 2014) and a dry season (November 2015–April 2016) at various sites, to identify fungi associated with water hyacinth. Fungi were isolated and identified from symptomatic plant parts collected. In the rainy season, 130 fungal isolates belonging to 12 genera were identified morphologically, whereas 299 isolates belonging to 23 genera were identified during the dry season. With the exception of Fusarium oxysporum and Phytophthora sp., the genera represented new records for Cameroon, and Chaetomium strumarium, Colletotrichum gloesporioides, C. acutatum, C. dematium, Curvularia pallescens and Pytomyces chartarum were considered new host records for E. crassipes in Africa. Isolates of Acremonium zonatum, Chaetomium strumarium, Alternaria eichhorniae, Phytophthora sp. and Rhizoctonia sp. showed the highest frequency of occurrence on E. crassipes in the Wouri River Basin and, given their record as plant pathogens, could be potentially useful in the development of mycoherbicides for this weed in Cameroon.
Keywords: biological control, fungal diversity, mycoherbicides, water hyacinth