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Pathogen profile update: Fusarium oxysporum


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Taxonomy: Kingdom Fungi; Phylum Ascomycota; Class Sordariomycetes; Order Hypocreales; Family Nectriaceae; genus Fusarium.

Host range: Very broad at the species level. More than 120 different formae speciales have been identified based on specificity to host species belonging to a wide range of plant families.

Disease symptoms: Initial symptoms of vascular wilt include vein clearing and leaf epinasty, followed by stunting, yellowing of the lower leaves, progressive wilting, defoliation and, finally, death of the plant. On fungal colonization, the vascular tissue turns brown, which is clearly visible in cross-sections of the stem. Some formae speciales are not primarily vascular pathogens, but cause foot and root rot or bulb rot.

Economic importance: Can cause severe losses in many vegetables and flowers, field crops, such as cotton, and plantation crops, such as banana, date palm and oil palm.

Control: Use of resistant varieties is the only practical measure for controlling the disease in the field. In glasshouses, soil sterilization can be performed.

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