Fusarium graminearum as a dry rot pathogen of potato in the USA: prevalence, comparison of host isolate aggressiveness and factors affecting aetiology


E-mail: gary.secor@ndsu.edu


A 2004–2005 survey of potatoes from stores in the north-central potato-producing region of the USA showed that the predominant causes of dry rot were Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium sambucinum. Isolates of F. graminearum originally isolated from potato tubers with dry rot (n = 15), wheat kernels with scab (n = 15), and sugarbeet tap roots with decay (n = 5) were tested for aggressiveness to potato tubers. There were no significant differences in aggressiveness among isolates of F. graminearum, regardless of original host, as measured by their ability to cause dry rot. These findings may have implications for survival of F. graminearum inoculum since potatoes, wheat and sugarbeets are frequently used in crop rotation in the region. Fusarium graminearum required larger wounds for infection of potato tubers than F. sambucinum. Plug-removal injury, simulating a stolon-removal injury, resulted in equal incidence of dry rot caused by the two Fusarium species, whereas abrasion and bruising injury were sufficient for infection and dry rot development by F. sambucinum, but not F. graminearum. A change in harvest practices from vine-killing prior to harvest to mechanical vine-killing on the day of harvest may be a factor affecting the onset of dry rot caused by F. graminearum, since this process often causes large wounds at the stem end of the tubers when the stolon is forcibly removed.