Cylindrocarpon : Introduction, Morphology, Pathogenicity, Lab Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, and Keynotes


Cylindrocarpon is a genus of fungi that belongs to the class Dothideomycetes. This genus is characterized by its cylindrical or slightly curved, hyaline (colorless) conidia, which are the asexual spores produced by the fungus. The name “Cylindrocarpon” is derived from Greek, where “cylindro” means cylindrical and “carpon” means fruit, referring to the shape of its conidia.

These fungi are mainly soil-borne and are often associated with plant roots, causing various types of plant diseases. They are considered to be important plant pathogens, causing root rot and damping-off diseases in a wide range of host plants. Some species of Cylindrocarpon are known to be particularly destructive to crops, ornamental plants, and trees.

The life cycle of Cylindrocarpon typically involves both sexual and asexual reproduction. The sexual stage involves the formation of perithecia, which are fruiting structures containing asci that produce sexual spores called ascospores. The asexual stage produces conidia, which can be easily dispersed in soil or through water.

Controlling Cylindrocarpon infections can be challenging, as the fungi can survive in soil for extended periods and can spread through contaminated planting material or water. Integrated pest management strategies, such as crop rotation, the use of disease-resistant varieties, and soil sterilization, may help to manage and reduce the impact of Cylindrocarpon-related diseases.


The morphology of Cylindrocarpon refers to the physical characteristics and structures of the fungi within this genus. As with many fungal genera, Cylindrocarpon displays various features that help in its identification and classification. Here are the key morphological characteristics:

  1. Conidiophores: Conidiophores are the specialized structures on which conidia (asexual spores) are produced. In Cylindrocarpon, conidiophores are typically hyaline, meaning they are colorless and transparent. They are also usually septate, meaning they have cross-walls or divisions.
  2. Conidia: Conidia are the asexual spores produced by Cylindrocarpon. They are one of the most distinctive features of this genus. Conidia in Cylindrocarpon are cylindrical or slightly curved, and they are usually unicellular and hyaline. The shape of the conidia is where the genus gets its name, as “cylindro” refers to their cylindrical shape.
  3. Perithecia: They have a sexual stage in their life cycle where they produce perithecia, which are flask-shaped fruiting bodies. Perithecia contain the sexual spores called ascospores. These structures are often embedded in the substrate, and their appearance can vary depending on the species.
  4. Ascospores: Ascospores are the sexual spores formed within the perithecia. They are typically hyaline and may have different shapes depending on the species.
  5. Growth and Colonies: When cultured on suitable media, they often form colonies that are white to cream-colored or light brown. The texture of the colonies can be fluffy to cottony, and they may produce pigments in some cases.

It’s important to note that morphological characteristics alone may not be sufficient for accurate identification of Cylindrocarpon species, as some features can be quite similar among different fungi. For precise identification, molecular techniques and DNA analysis are often used in conjunction with traditional morphological methods.


Cylindrocarpon species are known for their pathogenicity and their ability to cause various plant diseases. The most common type of disease caused by these fungi is root rot, which can be particularly destructive to a wide range of host plants, including agricultural crops, ornamental plants, and trees. The severity of the diseases caused by Cylindrocarpon can vary depending on the specific species involved, the host plant’s susceptibility, and environmental conditions.

The pathogenicity of Cylindrocarpon is mainly attributed to its ability to infect and colonize the plant’s root system. The fungi can enter the roots through wounds or natural openings, such as root tips. Once inside the plant, they start to grow and spread, leading to the degradation of the root tissues. This interference with the root system can disrupt the plant’s water and nutrient uptake, causing wilting, stunting, yellowing, and general decline of the affected plants.

In some cases, Cylindrocarpon infection can lead to damping-off, a disease commonly observed in young seedlings, where the pathogen causes the seedlings to collapse and die before they can establish themselves.

The severity and impact of Cylindrocarpon-related diseases on agriculture and horticulture can be significant. These pathogens can persist in the soil for extended periods, making it challenging to control their spread once established in a particular area. Moreover, the fungi can be easily transmitted through contaminated soil, planting material, and water, further contributing to their spread.

Management of Cylindrocarpon-related diseases involves implementing integrated pest management strategies. Some of the common control measures include:

  1. Crop rotation: Avoid planting susceptible crops in the same area year after year to break the disease cycle.
  2. Disease-resistant varieties: Utilize plant varieties that have demonstrated resistance to Cylindrocarpon infections.
  3. Soil sterilization: Treat the soil with appropriate methods, such as solarization or fumigation, to reduce pathogen populations.
  4. Proper sanitation: Ensure that planting material, tools, and equipment are clean to minimize the risk of introducing the pathogen.
  5. Fungicide applications: In some cases, fungicides may be used to manage the disease, but their effectiveness can vary depending on the specific Cylindrocarpon species and the crop being grown.

Lab Diagnosis

Diagnosing Cylindrocarpon infections in the laboratory typically involves a combination of traditional and molecular techniques. Here is an overview of the steps involved in the lab diagnosis of Cylindrocarpon:

  • Symptom and Sign Observation: The first step is to carefully observe the symptoms and signs on the affected plant. Symptoms of Cylindrocarpon infection may include wilting, yellowing, stunting, and root rot. Signs, such as the presence of conidia or perithecia on the affected plant, may also aid in the preliminary identification.
  • Isolation of the Fungus: To isolate Cylindrocarpon from the infected plant material, small pieces of diseased tissue (usually roots) are collected and placed on a selective growth medium, such as Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) supplemented with antibiotics to inhibit the growth of other microorganisms.
  • Culture and Colony Morphology: The isolated fungus is grown on the selective medium in the laboratory. They typically produce characteristic colonies with specific colors, textures, and growth rates. Observation of colony characteristics can provide initial clues about the identity of the fungus.
  • Microscopic Examination: Microscopic examination of the fungal structures is essential for accurate identification. Thin sections of the fungus are prepared and examined under a microscope. Features such as conidiophores, conidia, and perithecia are observed and compared to the characteristics described in taxonomic literature for Cylindrocarpon.
  • DNA Analysis (Molecular Techniques): For precise identification, especially when dealing with closely related species, DNA-based methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing are employed. Specific primers are used to amplify regions of the fungal DNA, and the resulting sequences are compared to known sequences in DNA databases for identification.
  • Pathogenicity Testing: To confirm that the isolated fungus is indeed causing disease, pathogenicity tests are conducted. Healthy plant seedlings or cuttings are inoculated with the isolated fungus, and the development of disease symptoms is monitored over time.
  • Comparison with Reference Cultures: If available, the isolated fungus can be compared with known reference cultures of Cylindrocarpon species for confirmation.


Managing Cylindrocarpon-related diseases can be challenging, but several strategies can help control the spread and minimize the impact of these pathogens. Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches that combine cultural, biological, and chemical control methods are often the most effective. Here are some treatment options for Cylindrocarpon:

  1. Crop Rotation: Practice crop rotation to avoid planting susceptible crops in the same area consecutively. Rotating with non-host or less susceptible crops can help break the disease cycle and reduce pathogen populations in the soil.
  2. Disease-Resistant Varieties: Planting disease-resistant varieties is an essential aspect of disease management. Utilize plant varieties that have demonstrated resistance or tolerance to Cylindrocarpon infections.
  3. Soil Solarization: Soil solarization is a method of heating the soil using transparent plastic sheets during hot weather to reduce soil-borne pathogens. This process can help suppress Cylindrocarpon populations in the soil.
  4. Soil Sterilization: In severe cases, soil fumigation or chemical treatments may be necessary. This should be done with caution, as it can also harm beneficial soil organisms. Consult with agricultural extension services or specialists for guidance on appropriate and safe soil sterilization methods.
  5. Proper Sanitation: Practice good sanitation to minimize the spread of the pathogen. Clean and disinfect tools, equipment, and containers used for planting, and avoid moving soil from infected areas to healthy ones.
  6. Biological Control: Some beneficial microorganisms in the soil can antagonize Cylindrocarpon and help suppress its activity. The application of biocontrol agents, such as certain strains of beneficial fungi or bacteria, can be considered to help manage the disease.
  7. Fungicides: In severe cases and when other measures are not sufficient, fungicides may be used to manage Cylindrocarpon-related diseases. Fungicides can be applied as soil drenches or foliar sprays, depending on the type of infection. It is essential to follow label instructions and guidelines for safe and effective use.
  8. Improve Soil Health: Maintain good soil health by adding organic matter, which can enhance soil structure, nutrient availability, and the activity of beneficial microorganisms.

It’s crucial to note that the effectiveness of different treatment strategies can vary depending on the specific Cylindrocarpon species involved, the host plant, and the environmental conditions. Regular monitoring and early detection of the disease can significantly improve the success of management efforts.


Preventing Cylindrocarpon-related diseases is crucial for maintaining healthy plants and reducing the risk of significant crop losses. Prevention focuses on implementing practices that minimize the introduction and spread of the pathogen. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  1. Use Disease-Resistant Varieties: Whenever possible, choose plant varieties that have been bred for resistance or tolerance to Cylindrocarpon infections. Resistant plants are less likely to succumb to the disease and can act as a barrier to the pathogen’s spread.
  2. Crop Rotation: Practice crop rotation to avoid planting susceptible crops in the same area consecutively. Rotating with non-host or less susceptible crops can disrupt the disease cycle and reduce pathogen populations in the soil.
  3. Sanitation: Maintain good sanitation practices in the garden, orchard, or field. Remove and destroy plant debris, especially if it shows signs of disease. This helps reduce the potential reservoir of pathogens and prevents their spread to healthy plants.
  4. Use Clean Planting Material: Use disease-free planting material and avoid introducing infected plant material into new areas. Inspect seedlings, cuttings, and transplants for signs of disease before planting.
  5. Soil Sterilization: If starting a new garden or planting area, consider soil sterilization methods such as solarization or fumigation to reduce the initial pathogen load in the soil.
  6. Proper Irrigation: Avoid overwatering, as overly wet conditions can favor the development and spread of root rot diseases caused by Cylindrocarpon species. Implement proper irrigation practices to maintain optimal soil moisture levels.
  7. Improve Soil Health: Enrich the soil with organic matter, which can improve soil structure, drainage, and the overall health of plants. Healthy soils promote strong root systems, which can better withstand disease pressure.
  8. Monitor and Scout: Regularly inspect plants for any signs of disease, especially during periods when the pathogen is most active. Early detection allows for prompt action and reduces the risk of severe outbreaks.
  9. Biological Control: Consider the use of beneficial microorganisms or biocontrol agents that can antagonize Cylindrocarpon and help suppress its activity in the soil.
  10. Avoid Waterlogging: Ensure proper drainage in planting areas to prevent waterlogged conditions, as these can create a conducive environment for root rot pathogens.
  11. Quarantine Measures: If you suspect Cylindrocarpon-related diseases in a specific area, consider implementing quarantine measures to prevent the movement of potentially infected plant material to other locations.
  12. Education and Training: Train gardeners, farmers, and horticulturists about the identification and management of Cylindrocarpon-related diseases. Awareness and knowledge can aid in early detection and prevention.


Keynotes on Cylindrocarpon:

  1. Genus of Fungi: It is a genus of fungi belonging to the class Dothideomycetes.
  2. Conidia: One of the defining characteristics of Cylindrocarpon is the production of cylindrical or slightly curved, colorless conidia (asexual spores).
  3. Pathogenicity: They are known plant pathogens, causing root rot and damping-off diseases in a wide range of host plants.
  4. Root Infection: The fungi enter plant roots through wounds or natural openings, leading to the degradation of root tissues and disrupting water and nutrient uptake.
  5. Disease Impact: Cylindrocarpon-related diseases can be severe, causing wilting, stunting, yellowing, and overall decline in affected plants.
  6. Life Cycle: It has a sexual stage involving the formation of perithecia containing ascospores, in addition to its asexual conidial stage.
  7. Survival in Soil: Cylindrocarpon can persist in the soil for extended periods, making it challenging to control its spread once established.
  8. Management: Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, such as crop rotation, use of disease-resistant varieties, soil sterilization, and proper sanitation, can help manage Cylindrocarpon-related diseases.
  9. Lab Diagnosis: Accurate diagnosis involves observing symptoms, isolating the fungus, and using microscopic and molecular techniques for identification.
  10. Prevention: Preventive measures include using disease-resistant varieties, practicing crop rotation, maintaining good sanitation, and using clean planting material.
  11. Quarantine Measures: Implementing quarantine measures can prevent the movement of infected plant material to new areas.
  12. Education: Awareness and knowledge of Cylindrocarpon diseases aid in early detection and prevention.

Further Readings

  1. Lambert, D. H., & Loria, R. (1989). Pathogenicity of Cylindrocarpon liriodendri to Black Walnut. Phytopathology, 79(5), 580-584. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-79-580
  2. Henry, J. M., & Barnett, H. L. (1977). Cylindrocarpon Root Rot: A Disease of Many Hosts. Phytopathology, 67(12), 1456-1460. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-67-1456
  3. Xu, X., & Sinclair, J. B. (1998). Development of a Disease Forecasting Model for Cylindrocarpon Root Rot on Fraser Fir Seedlings. Phytopathology, 88(10), 1137-1145. DOI: 10.1094/PHYTO.1998.88.10.1137
  4. Butler, E. E., & Nelson, E. B. (1998). Ecology and Management of Cylindrocarpon and Fusarium Wilt Diseases of Woody Ornamentals. Plant Disease, 82(9), 920-928. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS.1998.82.9.920
  5. Lombard, L., & Crous, P. W. (2012). Cylindrocarpon species associated with root and crown rot of agapanthus, gladiolus and watsonia in South Africa. IMA Fungus, 3(2), 123–136. DOI: 10.5598/imafungus.2012.03.02.01
  6. Dong, Y., Stewart, J. E., Melzer, M. S., & Yang, G. (2019). Characterization of Cylindrocarpon destructans associated with black root rot of ginseng in North America. Plant Disease, 103(9), 2277-2285. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-09-18-1685-RE
  7. Compendium of Ornamental Foliage Plant Diseases (American Phytopathological Society), edited by R. Kenneth Horst, includes information on Cylindrocarpon diseases affecting ornamental plants.
  8. Compendium of Ornamental Foliage Plant Diseases (American Phytopathological Society), edited by Margaret B. G. Gruber and W. Douglas Beck includes information on Cylindrocarpon diseases affecting ornamental foliage plants.

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