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Disease of cucumber caused by Rhizoctonia solani
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Cantharellales
Family: Ceratobasidiaceae
Genus: Rhizoctonia
DC. (1815)
Type species
Rhizoctonia solani
J.G. Kühn (1858)

Moniliopsis Ruhland (1908)
Thanatephorus Donk (1956)
Uthatobasidium Donk (1956)
Koleroga Donk (1958)
Cejpomyces Svrcek & Pouzar (1970)
Oncobasidium Talbot & Keane (1971)
Ypsilondium Donk (1972)
Aquathanatephorus Tu & Kimbrough (1978)
Ceratorhiza R.T. Moore (1987)

Rhizoctonia is a genus of fungi in the order Cantharellales. Species form thin, effused, corticioid basidiocarps (fruit bodies), but are most frequently found in their sterile, anamorphic state. Rhizoctonia species are saprotrophic, but some are also facultative plant pathogens, causing commercially important crop diseases. Some are also endomycorrhizal associates of orchids.[1] The genus name was formerly used to accommodate many superficially similar, but unrelated fungi.





Rhizoctonia was introduced in 1815 by French mycologist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle for anamorphic plant pathogenic fungi that produce both hyphae and sclerotia. The name is derived from Ancient Greek, ῥίζα (rhiza, "root") + κτόνος (ktonos, "murder"), and de Candolle's original species, Rhizoctonia crocorum (teleomorph Helicobasidium purpureum), is the causal agent of violet root rot of carrots and other root vegetables.[2] Subsequent authors added over 100 additional names to the genus, most of them plant pathogens bearing only a superficial resemblance to the type species.[3] Rhizoctonia thus became an artificial form genus of anamorphic fungi comprising a diverse range of unrelated species.[4]

As part of a move towards a more natural classification of fungi, American mycologist Royall T. Moore proposed in 1987 that Rhizoctonia should be restricted to the type species and its relatives, with unrelated species moved to other genera.[5] Unfortunately, this meant that the best-known but unrelated species, Rhizoctonia solani, would have undergone a name change to Moniliopsis solani. To avoid this, it was subsequently proposed that R. solani should replace R. crocorum as the type species of Rhizoctonia. This proposal was passed and the type of Rhizoctonia is now conserved as R. solani under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.[6]

R.T. Moore retained species having teleomorphs in the genus Thanatephorus within Rhizoctonia, but moved those with teleomorphs in the genus Ceratobasidium to the new anamorphic genus Ceratorhiza.[5]

In 1956, Dutch mycologist M.A. Donk published the new teleomorphic genera Thanatephorus and Uthatobasidium simultaneously, reserving the former for plant-pathogenic species producing sclerotia-bearing Rhizoctonia anamorphs (with T. cucumeris as the type) and the latter for saprotrophic species not producing anamorphs (with U. fusisporum as the type).[7] In 1996, on the basis of their similar morphology, the two genera were considered to be synonymous by K. Hauerslev and P. Roberts.[8] in 1970 Svrček & Pouzar introduced the genus Cejpomyces for a species resembling Thanatephorus, but having septate basidiospores.[9] Based on their similar morphology, the genera were considered synonymous by Langer (1994).[8] In 1971 Talbot & Keane introduced the genus Oncobasidium for a plant pathogenic species resembling Thanatephorus but lacking sclerotia[10] and in 1972 M.A. Donk introduced the genus Ypsilondium for a species resembling Uthatobasidium but having bisterigmate (two-spored) basidia.[11] Both genera were considered synonyms of Thanatephorus by Roberts (1999).[8] In 1978 Tu & Kimbrough introduced the genus Aquathanatephorus for an isolate from water hyacinth which produced a teleomorph with swollen, inwardly curving sterigmata.[12] This was redetermined as Thanatephorus cucumeris by Andersen (1996).[13]

Ceratobasidium was introduced in 1935 by American mycologist D.P. Rogers to accommodate species of the old form genus Corticium that showed affinities with the heterobasidiomycetes. These affinities were the possession of large sterigmata ("cerato-basidium" means "horned basidium") and the production of basidiospores that produce secondary spores.[14] The genus Koleroga was proposed by Donk (1958) to accommodate K. noxia, a plant pathogen morphologically similar to Ceratobasidium but not known to produce secondary spores.[15] Talbot (1965) demonstrated that such spores were present in some collections and suggested that Koleroga be synonymized with Ceratobasidium.[8]

Current status


Molecular research, based on cladistic analysis of DNA sequences, places Rhizoctonia within the family Ceratobasidiaceae.[16][17] The genus is only monophyletic, however, if species of Ceratobasidium (excluding the type)[18] and Ceratorhiza are included as synonyms, since there is no apparent distinction between these species and species of Rhizoctonia.[17][18] DNA sequencing has also confirmed the synonymy of Uthatobasidium, Oncobasidium, and Koleroga.[18]

Following changes to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, the practice of giving different names to teleomorph and anamorph forms of the same fungus was discontinued, meaning that Thanatephorus became a synonym of the earlier name Rhizoctonia.[18] In its current sense, therefore, the genus Rhizoctonia includes both anamorphic and teleomorphic fungi. Not all species referred to Ceratobasidium or Thanatephorus have yet been combined in Rhizoctonia, however.

Redisposition of former species


A comprehensive survey and redisposition of old species names in Rhizoctonia was published in 1994 by Andersen & Stalpers.[4] Only a few frequently used names are listed below. Many older names are of uncertain application or were never validly published, or both.[4]

Habitat and distribution


Species are saprotrophic, often occurring in soil and producing basidiocarps (fruit bodies) on dead stems and plant detritus. They are also opportunistic plant pathogens, with an almost unlimited host range, and have been isolated from orchid mycorrhiza. Distribution appears to be cosmopolitan.[8]

Economic importance


Rhizoctonia solani causes a wide range of commercially significant plant diseases. It is one of the fungi responsible for Brown patch (a turfgrass disease), damping off in seedlings, as well as black scurf of potatoes,[20] bare patch of cereals,[21] root rot of sugar beet,[22] belly rot of cucumber,[23] sheath blight of rice,[24] and many other pathogenic conditions.[8] Rhizoctonia oryzae-sativae causes 'aggregate sheath spot' and 'sclerotium' disease of rice.[8] The subtropical Rhizoctonia noxia causes 'black rot' of coffee and other foliar blights,[8] whilst Rhizoctonia theobromae causes 'vascular-streak dieback' of Theobroma cacao (cocoa tree).[25] In Europe, Rhizoctonia butinii causes web blight of spruce.[18][26]

An efficient conversion of tryptophan to indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and/or tryptophol can be achieved by some species in the genus Rhizoctonia.[27]


  1. ^ Wu, Jianrong; Ma, Huancheng; Lü, Mei; Han, Sufen; Zhu, Youyong; Jin, Hui; Liang, Junfeng; Liu, Li; Xu, Jianping (2010-01-01). "Rhizoctonia fungi enhance the growth of the endangered orchid Cymbidium goeringii". Botany. 88 (1): 20–29. doi:10.1139/B09-092. ISSN 1916-2790.
  2. ^ "Pests and Diseases Quick Reference : Violet root rot". Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Index Fungorum - Search Page".
  4. ^ a b c d e f Andersen TF, Stalpers JA. (1994). "A checklist of Rhizoctonia epithets". Mycotaxon. 51: 437–457.
  5. ^ a b Moore RT. (1987). "The genera of Rhizoctonia-like fungi". Mycotaxon. 29: 91–99.
  6. ^ International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, Appendix III http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/main.htm
  7. ^ Donk MA (1956). "Notes on resupinate fungi II. The tulasnelloid fungi". Reinwardtia. 3: 363–379.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Roberts P. (1999). Rhizoctonia-forming fungi. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens. p. 239. ISBN 1-900347-69-5.
  9. ^ Svrček M, Pouzar Z (1970). "Cejpomyces gen. nov., a new genus of resupinate hymenomycetes (Corticiaceae)". Ceská Mykologie. 24: 5–11.
  10. ^ Talbot PH, Keane PJ (1971). "Oncobasidium: a new genus of tulasnelloid fungi". Australian Journal of Botany. 19 (2): 203–206. doi:10.1071/BT9710203.
  11. ^ Donk MA (1972). "The Heterobasidiomycetes: a reconnaissance - I. A restricted emendation". Proceedings of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen C. 75: 365–390.
  12. ^ Tu CC, Kimbrough JW (1978). "Systematics and phylogeny of fungi in the Rhizoctonia complex". Botanical Gazette. 139 (4): 454–466. doi:10.1086/337021. S2CID 84659778.
  13. ^ Andersen TF (1996). "A comparative taxonomic study of Rhizoctonia sensu lato employing morphological, ultrastructural and molecular methods". Mycological Research. 100 (9): 1117–1128. doi:10.1016/S0953-7562(96)80224-3.
  14. ^ Rogers DP. (1935). "Notes on the lower Basidiomycetes". University of Iowa Studies in Natural History. 17: 3–43.
  15. ^ Donk MA (1958). "Notes on resupinate hymenomycetes V". Fungus. 28: 16–36.
  16. ^ Moncalvo J-M; et al. (2006). "The cantharelloid clade: dealing with incongruent gene trees and phylogenetic reconstruction methods". Mycologia. 98 (6): 937–948. doi:10.3852/mycologia.98.6.937. PMID 17486970. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-08-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b Gónzalez D, Rodriguez-Carres M, Boekhout T, Stalpers J, Kuramae EE, Nakatani AK, Vilgalys R, Cubeta MA (2016). "Phylogenetic relationships of Rhizoctonia fungi within the Cantharellales". Fungal Biology. 120 (4): 603–619. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2016.01.012. PMC 5013834. PMID 27020160.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b c d e Oberwinkler F, Riess K, Bauer R, Kirschner R, Garnica S (2013). "Taxonomic re-evaluation of the Ceratobasidium-Rhizoctonia complex and Rhizoctonia butinii, a new species attacking spruce". Mycological Progress. 12 (4): 763–776. doi:10.1007/s11557-013-0936-0. S2CID 18958852.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Adams GC, Kropp BR. (1996). "Athelia arachnoidea, the sexual state of Rhizoctonia carotae, a pathogen of carrot in cold storage". Mycologia. 88 (3): 459–472. doi:10.2307/3760886. JSTOR 3760886.
  20. ^ Rhizoctonia disease of potato http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Potato_Rhizoctonia.htm
  21. ^ Rhizoctonia root rot http://cbarc.aes.oregonstate.edu/rhizoctonia-root-rot-bare-patch Archived 2013-10-10 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Rhizoctonia diseases of sugar beet "Management of Rhizoctonia Root Rot of Sugarbeet". Archived from the original on 2010-06-19. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  23. ^ Rhizoctonia disease of cucumber http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/cucurbit/cuke/dshndbk/br.html
  24. ^ Rhizoctonia sheath blight http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/C93A494B-8105-4804-9DFA-81190EC3F68B/58166/pub3123ShealthBlightofRiceHIGHRES.pdf
  25. ^ Ali SS, Asman A, Shao J, Firmansyah AP, Susilo AW, Rosmana A, McMahon P, Junaid M, Guest D, Kheng TY, Meinhardt LW, Bailey BA (2019). "Draft genome sequence of fastidious pathogen Ceratobasidium theobromae, which causes vascular-streak dieback in Theobroma cacao". Fungal Biol. Biotechnol. 6: 14. doi:10.1186/s40694-019-0077-6. PMC 6767637. PMID 31583107.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Hauptman T, Piškur B (2016). "A new record of Rhizoctonia butinii associated with Picea glauca 'Conica' in Slovenia". Forest Pathology. 46 (3): 259–263. doi:10.1111/efp.12272.
  27. ^ Efficient Conversion of L-Tryptophan to Indole-3-Acetic Acid and/or Tryptophol by Some Species of Rhizoctonia. Toshiko Furukawa, Jinichiro Koga, Takashi Adachi, Kunihei Kishi and Kunihiko Syono, Plant Cell Physiol., 1996, volume 37, issue 7, pages 899-905 (abstract)