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Abstract Detail


Smith, Jason A. [1], Quesada, Tania A. [1], Anger, Nicolas [1].

Moldy spoons and rotten bowls: transcontinental dispersal of fungal pathogens through the wooden home goods retail market.

International movement of microorganisms has garnered significant attention in recent years due to the potential threat they pose to the health of naïve hosts. Increasing international trade, greater capacity of shipping vessels, greater reliance on non-local agriculture and the movement of horticultural plants have all been identified as major drivers of this worldwide phenomenon. This study examined the viability and diversity of fungi in wood products sold in retail stores in Florida, United States. We isolated and analyzed viable fungi from 16 wooden home goods products from 6 retail stores. Cultures were identified by sequencing the ITS-rDNA and using BLASTn searches against the NCBI DNA database. The results show high survival and diversity of fungi occurring for wood products originating from at least 8 countries on 3 continents. Several new taxa, not previously reported for North America, were discovered including potential plant and human pathogens, and pathways for dispersal into the environment are discussed. This research points to a need to increase safeguards at both points of origin and entry for biosecurity for this large and diverse international market.

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1 - University of Florida, School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences, PO Box 110410, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA

invasive pathogens
fungal epidemiology
international trade
disease ecology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: MY2, Mycology: Human and Animal Pathogens
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 2:15 PM(EDT)
Number: MY2008
Abstract ID:991
Candidate for Awards:None

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