Anthracnose disease of switchgrass caused by the novel fungal species Colletotrichum navitas

Jo Anne Crouch, Lisa A. Beirn, Laura M. Cortese, Stacy A. Bonos, Bruce B. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In recent years perennial grasses such as the native tallgrass prairie plant Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) have taken on a new role in the North American landscape as a plant-based source of renewable energy. Because switchgrass is a native plant, it has been suggested that disease problems will be minimal, but little research in this area has been conducted. Recently, outbreaks of switchgrass anthracnose disease have been reported from the northeastern United States. Incidences of switchgrass anthracnose are known in North America since 1886 through herbarium specimens and disease reports, but the causal agent of this disease has never been experimentally determined or taxonomically evaluated. In the present work, we evaluate the causal agent of switchgrass anthracnose, a new species we describe as Colletotrichum navitas (navitas = Latin for energy). Multilocus molecular phylogenetics and morphological characters show C. navitas is a novel species in the falcate-spored graminicolous group of the genus Colletotrichum; it is most closely related to the corn anthracnose pathogen Colletotrichum graminicola. We present a formal description and illustrations for C. navitas and provide experimental confirmation that this organism is responsible for switchgrass anthracnose disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1421
Number of pages11
JournalMycological Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


  • Bioenergy feedstocks
  • Biofuels
  • Colletotrichum caudatum
  • Native grass
  • Nigrospora sphaerica
  • Panicum virgatum
  • Perennial monocultures
  • Plant pathogen
  • Tallgrass prairie


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