Olive anthracnose, a critical olive fruit disease that adversely impacts oil quality, is caused by Colletotrichum species. A dominant Colletotrichum species and several secondary species have been identified in each olive-growing region. This study surveys the interspecific competition between C. godetiae, dominant in Spain, and C. nymphaeae, prevalent in Portugal, to shed light on the cause of this disparity. When Petri-dishes of Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) and diluted PDA were co-inoculated with spore mixes produced by both species, C. godetiae displaced C. nymphaeae, even if the percentage of spores in the initial spore mix inoculation was just 5 and 95%, respectively. The C. godetiae and C. nymphaeae species showed similar fruit virulence in separate inoculations in both cultivars, the Portuguese cv. Galega Vulgar and the Spanish cv. Hojiblanca, and no cultivar specialization was observed. However, when olive fruits were co-inoculated, the C. godetiae species showed a higher competitive ability and partially displaced the C. nymphaeae species. Furthermore, both Colletotrichum species showed a similar leaf survival rate. Lastly, C. godetiae was more resistant to metallic copper than C. nymphaeae. The work developed here allows a deeper understanding of the competition between C. godetiae and C. nymphaeae, which could lead to developing strategies for more efficient disease risk assessment.
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