Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Sooty moulds (051)

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  • Worldwide distribution. In tropics and sub-tropics. On many crops when colonised by insects that produce honeydew, e.g., coconut, guava, mango, soursop and ornamentals.
  • Black moulds grow on honeydew discharged by sap-sucking insects – aphids, planthoppers, whiteflies, scales - onto leaves and fruits.
  • The fungi do not infect the leaves, but shut out sunlight, weakening growth, causing leaves to die early, and reducing fruit quality.
  • Cultural control: aim to control the insects producing honeydew. If they are protected by ants, destroy nests (use hot water); prune low hanging branches and remove weeds to stop ants reaching the insects.
  • Chemical control: soaps or oils to kill sap-sucking insects; use synthetic pyrethroids against ants.
Common Name

Sooty moulds

Scientific Name

A number of sooty mould fungi have been identified in Pacific island countries; e.g., those from Solomon Islands - mostly from living leaves - are as follows: Aithaloderma citri (grapefruit); Capnodium citri (citrus); Capnodium mangiferum (mango); Capnodium sp. (papaya); Chaetasbolisia microglobulosa (chilli); Chaetothyrium setosum (coconut, Xanthosoma taro); Limacinula samoenesis (coconut); Microxiphium spp. (chilli, coconut, oil palm); Trichomerium spp. (coconut, oil palm); Tripospermum fructigenum (Pometia pinnata); Tripospermum gardneri (oil palm, cocoa); Tripospermum sp. (chilli); Triosporiopsis sp. (papaya). Many of these species and others are present in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

Other fungal genera recorded in these countries and elsewhere are: Antennulariella, Parascorias and Scoria species.

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from RHS (undated) Sooty moulds. Royal Horticultural Society. UK. (; and from Sooty mold. Wikipedia. (; Gillman D (2011) Sooty Mold. The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. University of Massachusetts Amherst. ( Photo 3&4 Kohler F, et al. (1997) Diseases of cultivated crops in Pacific Island countries. South Pacific Commission. Pirie Printers Pty Limited, Canberra, Australia.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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