Fusarium oxysporum and its biocontrol


Author for correspondence:
C. Alabouvette
Tel: +33 03 80 69 30 41
Fax: +33 03 80 69 32 26
Email: alabouvette@dijon.inra.fr


Fusarium oxysporum is well represented among the rhizosphere microflora. While all strains exist saprophytically, some are well-known for inducing wilt or root rots on plants whereas others are considered as nonpathogenic. Several methods based on phenotypic and genetic traits have been developed to characterize F. oxysporum strains. Results showed the great diversity affecting the soil-borne populations of F. oxysporum. In suppressive soils, interactions between pathogenic and nonpathogenic strains result in the control of the disease. Therefore nonpathogenic strains are developed as biocontrol agents. The nonpathogenic F. oxysporum strains show several modes of action contributing to their biocontrol capacity. They are able to compete for nutrients in the soil, affecting the rate of chlamydospore germination of the pathogen. They can also compete for infection sites on the root, and can trigger plant defence reactions, inducing systemic resistance. These mechanisms are more or less important depending on the strain. The nonpathogenic F. oxysporum are easy to mass produce and formulate, but application conditions for biocontrol efficacy under field conditions have still to be determined.