Rigidoporus microporus (Polyporales, Basidiomycota) syn. Rigidoporus lignosus is the most destructive root pathogen of rubber plantations distributed in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Our primary objective was to characterize Nigerian isolates from rubber tree and compare them with other West African, Southeast Asian and American isolates. To characterize the 20 isolates from Nigeria, we used sequence data of the nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS and LSU, β-tubulin and translation elongation factor 1-α (tef1) gene sequences. Altogether, 40 isolates of R. microporus were included in the analyses. Isolates from Africa, Asia and South/Central America formed three distinctive clades corresponding to at least three species. No phylogeographic pattern was detected among R. microporus collected from West and Central African rubber plantations suggesting continuous gene flow among these populations. Our molecular phylogenetic analysis suggests the presence of two distinctive species associated with the white rot disease. Phylogenetic analyses placed R. microporus in the Hymenochaetales in the vicinity of Oxyporus. This is the first study to characterize R. microporus isolates from Nigeria through molecular phylogenetic techniques, and also the first to compare isolates from rubber plantations in Africa and Asia.
Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis), a potential raw material for bioethanol production due to its high cellulose content, was used as a novel feedstock for enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol production using biological pretreatment. To improve ethanol production, rubberwood was pretreated with white rot fungus Ceriporiopsis subvermispora to increase fermentation efficiency. The effects of particle size of rubberwood (1 mm, 0.5 mm, and 0.25 mm) and pretreatment time on the biological pretreatment were first determined by chemical analysis and X-ray diffraction and their best condition obtained with 1 mm particle size and 90 days pretreatment. Further morphological study on rubberwood with 1 mm particle size pretreated by fungus was performed by FT-IR spectra analysis and SEM observation and the result indicated the ability of this fungus for pretreatment. A study on enzymatic hydrolysis resulted in an increased sugar yield of 27.67% as compared with untreated rubberwood (2.88%). The maximum ethanol concentration and yield were 17.9 g/L and 53% yield, respectively, after 120 hours. The results obtained demonstrate that rubberwood pretreated by C. subvermispora can be used as an alternative material for the enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol production.
Morphological features and Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) polymorphism were employed to analyse 21 Corynespora cassiicola isolates obtained from a number of Hevea clones grown in rubber plantations in Malaysia. The C. cassiicola isolates used in this study were collected from several states in Malaysia from 1998 to 2005. The morphology of the isolates was characteristic of that previously described for C. cassiicola. Variations in colony and conidial morphology were observed not only among isolates but also within a single isolate with no inclination to either clonal or geographical origin of the isolates. ISSR analysis delineated the isolates into two distinct clusters. The dendrogram created from UPGMA analysis based on Nei and Li's coefficient (calculated from the binary matrix data of 106 amplified DNA bands generated from 8 ISSR primers) showed that cluster 1 encompasses 12 isolates from the states of Johor and Selangor (this cluster was further split into 2 sub clusters (1A, 1B), sub cluster 1B consists of a unique isolate, CKT05D); while cluster 2 comprises of 9 isolates that were obtained from the other states. Detached leaf assay performed on selected Hevea clones showed that the pathogenicity of representative isolates from cluster 1 (with the exception of CKT05D) resembled that of race 1; and isolates in cluster 2 showed pathogenicity similar to race 2 of the fungus that was previously identified in Malaysia. The isolate CKT05D from sub cluster 1B showed pathogenicity dissimilar to either race 1 or race 2.
Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) was successfully cultivated at 27±1 °C and pH 7.0±1 during the treatment of rubber wastewater using a sequential batch reactor system mode with complete cycle time of 3 h. Results showed aerobic granular sludge had an excellent settling ability and exhibited exceptional performance in the organics and nutrients removal from rubber wastewater. Regular, dense and fast settling granule (average diameter, 1.5 mm; settling velocity, 33 m h(-1); and sludge volume index, 22.3 mL g(-1)) were developed in a single reactor. In addition, 96.5% COD removal efficiency was observed in the system at the end of the granulation period, while its ammonia and total nitrogen removal efficiencies were up to 94.7% and 89.4%, respectively. The study demonstrated the capabilities of AGS development in a single, high and slender column type-bioreactor for the treatment of rubber wastewater.
Corynespora cassiicola is an important plant pathogenic Ascomycete causing the damaging Corynespora Leaf Fall (CLF) disease in rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). A small secreted glycoprotein named cassiicolin was previously described as an important effector of C. cassiicola. In this study, the diversity of the cassiicolin-encoding gene was analysed in C. cassiicola isolates sampled from various hosts and geographical origins. A cassiicolin gene was detected in 47 % of the isolates, encoding up to six distinct protein isoforms. In three isolates, two gene variants encoding cassiicolin isoforms Cas2 and Cas6 were found in the same isolate. A phylogenetic tree based on four combined loci and elucidating the diversity of the whole collection was strongly structured by the toxin class, as defined by the cassiicolin isoform. The isolates carrying the Cas1 gene (toxin class Cas1), all grouped in the same highly supported clade, were found the most aggressive on two rubber tree cultivars. Some isolates in which no Cas gene was detected could nevertheless generate moderate symptoms, suggesting the existence of other yet uncharacterized effectors. This study provides a useful base for future studies of C. cassiicola population biology and epidemiological surveys in various host plants.