Cacao Diseases pp 361-382 | Cite as

Fruit and Canopy Pathogens of Unknown Potential Risk

  • Andrews Y. AkrofiEmail author
  • Ismael Amoako-Atta
  • Kofi Acheampong
  • Michael K. Assuah
  • Rachel L. Melnick


The worldwide threat to cacao production from the major pests and diseases continues to overshadow other problems of local or sporadic importance. Since the introduction of cacao (Theobroma cacao, L.) from its center of diversity in the Amazon forest into other regions of the world, several diseases, often regarded as minor pests, affects production of the crop in various cacao-producing regions and countries. These diseases may not be globally important, but may have very great local impact on production wherever they are found. Among these minor diseases are pink diseases caused by Erythricium salmonicolor, charcoal pod rot, caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae, warty pod, a disease of unknown etiology, mealy pod caused by Trachysphaera fructigena, thread blight caused by Marasmius species, brown root rot caused by Phellinus noxious, and anthracnose of cacao caused by Colletotrichum species. Most often, the symptoms of cacao pod diseases are similar, and this often confuses farmers and extension personnel, resulting in either the overestimation or underestimation of these diseases in the field. This chapter discusses the situation and outlook, taxonomy, distribution, symptoms, modes of spread, and impact of these diseases on cacao. It also discusses control measures available for these diseases and future prospects for their management.


Cacao Tree Cacao Plant Phytophthora Palmivora Cacao Farm Infected Branch 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Pioneers in Cacao Plant Pathology Research: Dr. Job Thomas Dakwa

  1. Dakwa, J. T. (1972a). Occurrence of mealypod disease of Theobroma cacao in Ghana. Plant Disease Reporter, 56(11), 1011–1013.Google Scholar
  2. Dakwa, J. (1974). The occurrence of Phytophthora palmivora (Butl) Butl in soil in Ghana. Ghana Journal of Agricultural Science, 7, 37–41.Google Scholar
  3. Dakwa, J. T. (1976a). The establishment and the development of cocoa mealy pod lesions and the evaluation of fungicides for their control. Turrialba, 26(3), 279–285.Google Scholar
  4. Dakwa, J. T., & Danquah, O. A. (1978). A Colletotrichum leaf blight of cocoa in Ghana. Plant Disease Reporter, 62, 369–373.Google Scholar
  5. Dakwa, J. (1984). Nationwide black pod survey. Joint CRIG/Cocoa production division project (p. 263). Annual Report of the Cocoa Research Institute, Ghana, 1976/77–1978/79, Tafo (Akim Abuakwa). Ghana: Cocoa Research Institute.Google Scholar
  6. Dakwa, J. (1987). A serious outbreak of black pod disease in a marginal area of Ghana. In Proceedings of the 10th International Cocoa Research Conference (pp. 447–451).Google Scholar
  7. Dakwa, J. (1988). Changes in the periods for attaining the cocoa black pod disease infection peaks in Ghana. In Proceedings of the 10th International Cocoa Research Conference, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (pp. 427–436).Google Scholar

Pink Disease (Erythricium salmonicolor)

  1. Akrofi, A. Y., Amoako-Atta, I., Assuah, M., & Kumi-Asare, E. (2014). Pink disease caused by Erythricium salmonicolor (Berk. & Broome) Burdsall: An epidemiological assessment of its potential effect on cocoa production in Ghana. Journal of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, 5, 215. doi: 10.4172/2157-7471.1000215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anon. (1985). Crop protection (pp. 27–28). Annual Report 1984, Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia.Google Scholar
  3. Briton-Jones, H. R. (1934). Diseases and curing of cocoa. London: MacMillan and Co.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, J. F., & Friend, D. (1973). Diseases of cocoa in the British Solomon Islands. Protectorate South Pacific Commission Technical Paper, 166. Google Scholar
  5. Cook, M. T. (1913). Diseases of tropical plants (pp. 186–187). London: MacMillan and Co.Google Scholar
  6. de Almeida, L. C. C., & Luz, E. D. M. N. (1986). Action of wind in disseminating pink disease of cocoa. Revista Theobroma, 16(3), 133–140.Google Scholar
  7. Edathil, T. T., & Jacob, C. K. (1983). Control of pink disease of Hevea using tridemorph in ammoniated latex. Pesticides, 17(12), 25–26.Google Scholar
  8. Kueh, T. K. (1986). Cocoa diseases (pp. 83–85). Annual Report of the Research Branch, Department of Agriculture, Sarawak, 1984. Kuching, Sarawak: Ministry of Agriculture and Community Development (Source: CAB Abstracts).Google Scholar
  9. Luz, E. D. M. N., & Ram, A. (1980). Metodologia de inoculacao de Corticium salmonicolor em cacaueiro. Revista Theobroma, 10(3), 123–134.Google Scholar
  10. Luz, E. D. M. N., & de Figueiredo, J. M. (1982). Sensitivity of Corticium salmonocolor to fungicides in vitro. Revista Theobroma, 12, 249–255.Google Scholar
  11. Luz, E. D. M. N. (1983). Dormant cankers: Sources of inoculum of Corticium salmonicolor on cocoa. Revista Theobroma, 13(4), 377–380.Google Scholar
  12. Luz, E. D. M. N., Campelo, A. M. F., & de Miranda, R. A. C. (1985). Rainfall as dispersing agent of the pink disease. Revista Theobroma, 15, 159–163.Google Scholar
  13. Mordue, J. E. M., & Gibson, I. A. S. (1976). Corticium salmonicolor. CMI descriptions of pathogenic fungi and bacteria (Set 52, Vol. 511). Wallingford: CAB International.Google Scholar
  14. Old, K. M., & Davidson, E. M. (2000). Canker diseases of eucalyptus. In P. J. Keane, G. A. Kile, F. D. Podger, & B. N. Brown (Eds.), Diseases and pathogens of eucalyptus (pp. 245–246). Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
  15. Opoku, I. Y., Akrofi, A. Y., Osei-Bonsu, K., & Acheampong, K. (2001). An outbreak of pink disease in Ghana. In Proceedings of the 13th International Cocoa Research Conference, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (pp. 761–767).Google Scholar
  16. Ram, A., Bastos, S. T. G., & de Figueiredo, J. M. (1982). Chemical control of Corticium salmono color, causal agent of pink disease of cocoa. Revista Theobroma, 12, 241–247.Google Scholar
  17. Schneider-Christians, J., Fliege, F., Schlosser, E., & Tamani, R. (1983). Pink disease of cocoa caused by Corticium salmonicolor in Western Samoa. Survey of the occurrence of the disease. Alafua Agricultural Bulletin, 8, 9–19.Google Scholar
  18. Schneider-Christians, J., Fliege, F., & Schlosser, E. (1986). On the release, survival, and importance of basidiospores of Corticium salmonocolor, the pathogen causing pink disease. Zeitschrift fur Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz, 93(4), 397–403.Google Scholar
  19. Smith, E. S. C. (1985). A review of the relationship between shade types and cocoa pest and disease problems in Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea Journal of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries, 33(3–4), 78–88.Google Scholar
  20. Stockdale, F. A. (1909). Fungus diseases of cacao and sanitation of cacao orchards. West Indian Bulletin, 9, 166.Google Scholar
  21. Thankamma, L., Nair, J. M. N., Deo, A. D., & Kumar, D. (1986). Prophylactic brush-on application of Emulsicop for pink disease management in eucalyptus. Indian Forester, 112, 1016–1018.Google Scholar
  22. Thankamma, L. (1989). In vivo evaluation of fungicides and antagonistic fungus in pink disease management of Eucalyptus when applied as brush on formulation. Pesticides, 23(10), 39–41.Google Scholar
  23. Verma, K. S., & Munjal, R. L. (1983). Histopathology of Corticium salmonicolor on apple tree. Indian Phytopathology, 36(4), 751–752.Google Scholar
  24. Villarraga, A. L. (1987). Dosage and frequency of application of granulated systemic fungicides to control coffee rust in Colombia. ASCOLFI-Informa, 13, 49–50.Google Scholar
  25. Wharton, A. L. (1962a). Black pod and minor diseases. In J. Brian Wills (Ed.), Agriculture and land use in Ghana (pp. 333–342). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Wood, G. A. R., & Lass, R. A. (1985). Cocoa. Tropical agricultural series (4th ed., 620 pp). London: Longman.Google Scholar

Lasiodiplodia Pod Rot (Lasiodiplodia theobromae)

  1. Abdollahzadeh, J., Javadi, A., Goltapeh, E. M., Zare, R., & Philips, A. J. L. (2010). Phylogeny and morphology of four new species of Lasiodiplodia from Iran. Persoonia, 25, 1–10.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Adesemoye, A. O., Mayorquin, J. S., & Eskalen, A. (2013). Neofusicoccum luteum as a pathogen on Tejocote (Crataegus Mexicana). Phytopathologia Mediterranea, 52(1), 123–129.Google Scholar
  3. Adesemoye, A. O., Mayorquin, J. S., Wang, D. H., Twizeyimana, M., Lynch, S. C., & Eskalen, A. (2014). Identification of species of Botryosphaeriaceae causing Bot gummosis in citrus in California. Plant Disease, 98, 55–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Adu-Acheampong, R. (2009). Pathogen diversity and host resistance in dieback disease of cocoa caused by Fusarium decemcellulare and Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Ph.D. thesis). Imperial College London, 192 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Alves, A., Crous, P. W., Correia, V., & Phillips, A. J. L. (2008). Morphological and molecular data reveal cryptic speciation in Lasiodiplodia theobromae. Fungal Diversity, 28, 1–13.Google Scholar
  6. Cardoso, J. E., Vidal, J. C., dos Santos, A. A., Freir, F. C. O., & Viana, F. M. P. (2002). First report of black branch dieback of cashew caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae in Brazil. Plant Disease, 86, 558. doi: 10.1094/PDIS.2002.86.5.558B.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Domsch, K. H., Gams, W., & Anderson, T. H. (2007). Compendium of soil fungi (2nd ed.). Eching: IHW-Verlag. ISBN 3930167697, 9783930167692. Cornell University.Google Scholar
  8. Dungeon, G. C. (1910). Notes on two West African Hemiptera injurious to cocoa. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 1, 59–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fu, G., Huang, S. L., Wei, J. G., Yuan, G. Q., Ren, J. G., Yan, W. H., et al. (2007). First record of Jatropha podagrica gummosis caused by Botryodiplodia theobromae in China. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 2, 75–76. doi: 10.1071/DN07030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Holliday, P. (1980a). Fungus diseases of tropical crops. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Khanzada, M. A., Lodhi, A. M., & Shahzad, S. (2004a). Mango dieback and gummosis in Sindh Pakistan caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae. Plant Health Progress.
  12. Latha, P., Prakasam, V., Kamalakakannan, A., Gopalakrishnan, C., Thiruvengadam, R., & Paramathma, M. (2009). First report of Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griff. and Maubl causing root rot and collar rot of Physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) in India. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 4(1), 19–20.Google Scholar
  13. McDonald, V. M., & Eskalen, A. (2011). Botryosphaeriaceae species associated with avocado branch cankers in California. Plant Disease, 95, 1465–1473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mbenoun, M., Momo Zeutsa, E. H., Samuels, G., Nsouga Amougou, F., & Nyasse, S. (2007). Dieback due to Lasiodiplodia theobromae, a new constraint to cocoa production in Cameroon. New Disease Reports, 15, 59.Google Scholar
  15. Jaiyeola, I., Akinrinlola, R. J., Ige, G. S., Omoleye, O. O., Oyedele, A., Odunayo, B. J., et al. (2014). Bot canker pathogens could complicate the management of Phytophthora black pod of cocoa. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 8(33), 3094–3100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Onyenka, T. J., Dixon, A. G. O., & Ekpo, E. J. A. (2005). Identification of levels of resistance to cassava root rot disease (Botryodiplodia theobromae) in Africa landrace and improved germplasm using in vitro inoculation methods. Euphytica, 1457(3), 281–288. Dordrecht: Springer. ISSN 1573-5060 (Online).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Phillips, P. M., & Porter, D. M. (1998). Collar rot of peanut caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae. Plant Disease, 82, 1205–1209. doi: 10.1094/PDIS.199882.11.1205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jiskani, M. M. (2002, March 18–24). Dying of mango orchards needs special attention. Pakistan and Gulf Economist.
  19. Khanzada, M. A., Lodhi, A. M., & Shahzad, S. (2004b). Mango dieback and gummosis in Sindh, Pakistan caused by Lasiodiplodia theobromae. Plant Health Progress. doi: 10.1094/PHP-2004-0302-01-DG.Google Scholar
  20. Opoku, I. Y., Assuah, M. K., & Domfeh, O. (2007a). Manual for the identification and control of diseases of cocoa. Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana-Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghana. Technical Bulletin, 16, 18–19.Google Scholar
  21. Rossel, G., Espinoza, C., Javier, M., & Tay, D. (2008). Regeneration guidelines: Sweet potato and yam. In M. E. Dulloo, I. Thormann, M. A. Jorge, & J. Hanson (Eds.), Crop specific regeneration guidelines [CD-ROM] (p. 9). CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resource Programme, Italy.Google Scholar
  22. Sangeetha, G., Anandan, A., & Rani, S. U. (2011). Morphological and molecular characterization of Lasiodiplodia theobromae from various banana cultivars causing crown rot disease in fruits. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection, 1–12.Google Scholar
  23. Slippers, B., Johnson, G. I., Crous, P. W., Coutinho, T. A., Wingfield, B. D., & Wingfield, M. J. (2005). Phylogenic and morphological re-evaluation of the Botryosphraeria species causing diseases of Mangifera indica. Mycologia, 97(1), 99–110.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Sutton, B. C. (1980). The Coelomycetes (696 pp). Kew: Commonwealth Mycological Institute.Google Scholar

Warty Pod

  1. Lass, R. A. (1985). Diseases. In G. A. R. Wood & R. A. Lass (Eds.), Cocoa. Tropical agricultural series (pp. 265–365). London: Longman.Google Scholar
  2. Wharton, A. L. (1962b). Black pod and minor diseases. In J. Brian Wills (Ed.), Agriculture and land use in Ghana (pp. 333–342). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Trachysphaera Pod Rot (Mealy Pod)

  1. Dakwa, J. T. (1972b). Occurrence of mealy pod disease of Theobroma cacao in Ghana. Plant Disease Reporter, 56(11), 1011–13.Google Scholar
  2. Dakwa, J. T. (1976b). The establishment and the development of mealy pod lesions and the evaluation of fungicides for its control. Turrialba, 26(3), 279–285.Google Scholar
  3. Holliday, P. (1980b). Fungus Diseases of Tropical Crops. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

White Thread

  1. Amoako-Atta, I., Assuah, M. K., Akrofi, A. Y., Aneani, F., & Acheampong, K. (2014). Studies on the incidence of thread blight diseases of cocoa and development of control measures (pp. 187–192). Progress Report, Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Akim Tafo.Google Scholar
  2. Barros N. O. (1981). Cacao. Manual de Asistencia Tecnica (Vol. 23, 286 pp). Bogota: Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario.Google Scholar
  3. Dennis, R. W. G., & Reid, D. A. (1957). Some marasmioid fungi allegedly parasitic on leaves and twigs in the tropics. Kew Bulletin, 12(2), 287–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gasparotto, L., & Silva, S. E. L. (1999). New hosts of Pellicularia koleroga in the State of Amazonas, Brazil. Fitopatologia Brasileira, 24, 469.Google Scholar
  5. Lourd, M., & Alves, B. (1987). Lista de hospedeiro e etiologia da queima-do-fio das plantas frutíferas na região Amazônica. Fitopatologia Brasileira, 12, 88–89.Google Scholar
  6. Opoku, I. Y., Assuah, M. K., & Domfeh, O. (2007b). Manual for the identification and control of diseases of cocoa. In CRIG Technical Bulletin (Vol. 16), Akim-Tafo.Google Scholar

Colletotrichum Species

  1. Arnold, A. E., Mejia, L. L., Kyllo, D., Rojas, E. I., Maynard, Z., Robbins, N., et al. (2003). Fungal endophytes limit pathogen damage in a tropical tree. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 100, 15649–15654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker, R. E. D., Crowdy, S. H., & McKee, R. K. (1940). A review of latent infections caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and allied fungi. Tropical Agriculture, 17, 128–132.Google Scholar
  3. Herre, E. A., Mejía, L. C., Kyllo, D. A., Rojas, E., Maynard, Z., Butler, A., et al. (2007). Ecological implication of anti-pathogen effects of tropical fungal endophytes and mycorrhizae. Ecology, 88, 550–558.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. James, R. S., Ray, J., Tan, Y. P., & Shivas, R. G. (2014). Colletotrichum siamense, C. theobromicola and C. queenslandicum from several plant species and the identification of C. asianum in the Northern Territory, Australia. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 9, 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Mejia, L. C., Herre, E. A., Sparks, J. P., Winter, K., Garcia, M., van Bael, S. A., et al. (2014). Pervasive effects of a dominant foliar endophytic fungus on host genetic and phenotypic expression in a tropical tree. Frontiers in Microbiology, 5, 479.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Mejía, L. C., Rojas, E. I., Maynard, Z., van Bael, S., Arnold, A. E., Hebbar, P., et al. (2008). Endophytic fungi as biocontrol agents of Theobroma cacao pathogens. Biological Control, 46, 4–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Peter, P. A., & Chandramohanan, R. (2011). Occurrence and distribution of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) diseases in India. Journal of Research for ANGRAU, 39, 44–50.Google Scholar
  8. Phillips-Mora, W., & Rolando Cerda, B. (2009). Cacao diseases in Central America. E. Somarriba, & S. Orozco (Eds.). Turialba, CR: CATIE. 24pp.Google Scholar
  9. Rojas, E. I., Rehner, S. A., Samuels, G. J., van Bael, S. A., Herre, E. A., Cannon, P., et al. (2010). Colletotrichum gloeosporioides s.l. associated with Theobroma cacao and other plants in Panamá: Multilocus phylogenies distinguish host-associated pathogens from asymptomatic endophytes. Mycologia, 102, 1318–1338.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Weir, B. S., Johnston, P. R., & Bamm, U. (2012). The Colletotrichum gloeosporioides species complex. Studies in Mycology, 73, 115–180.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Wood, G., & Lass, R. (2001). Cocoa. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd. 462 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrews Y. Akrofi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ismael Amoako-Atta
    • 1
  • Kofi Acheampong
    • 1
  • Michael K. Assuah
    • 1
  • Rachel L. Melnick
    • 2
  1. 1.Cocoa Research Institute of GhanaAkim TafoGhana
  2. 2.USDA National Institute of Food and AgricultureWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations