In recent years, fig growers in California have noticed fig trees in a number of orchards losing large limbs due to a severe dieback problem. The cause of this dieback was initially unknown. However, isolations from infected shoots of Calimyrna and Conadria and inoculations of the putative fungus that was consistently isolated from these tissues showed that the fungus Nattrassia mangiferae
(synonyms Hendersonula toruloidea
and Scytaledium minitans
) was the pathogen of this canker and dieback disease. A similar dieback disease caused by Hendersonula toruloidea
was also reported by Paxton et al. in 1964. Current research in the Michailides lab focuses on determining when fig trees are most susceptible to introduction of the pathogen through pruning wounds, testing methods to protect trees from infection and determining the relative resistance of different fig cultivars.