Submitted to: Fusarium Paul E Nelson Memorial Symposium
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2001
Publication Date: 9/1/2001
Citation: KISTLER, H.C. EVOLUTION OF HOST RANGE IN FUSARIUM OXYSPORUM. FUSARIUM PAUL E NELSON MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM. 2001. APS PRESS, ST PAUL, MINNESOTA. p. 408. Interpretive Summary: Fusarium oxysporum is one of the most common plant-associated fungi in the world. This review outlines the relationship among strains that are harmful to different plants. Knowledge of these differences may help scientists predict how fungi with new host specificity arise. By understanding how pathogenic strains arise, we may be better able to predict their occurrence eand to combat their ability to cause plant disease epidemics.
Technical Abstract: Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. as emended by Snyder and Hansen comprises all the species, varieties and forms recognized by Wollenweber and Reinking within an infrageneric grouping called section Elegans. While the species, as defined by Snyder and Hansen, has been widely accepted for more than 50 years, more recent work indicates this taxon is actually a genetically heterogeneous polytypic morphospecies whose strains represent some of the most abundant and widespread microbes of the global soil microflora. These remarkably diverse and adaptable fungi have been found in soils ranging from the Sonoran Desert, to tropical and temperate forests, grasslands and soils of the tundra. F. oxysporum strains are ubiquitous soil inhabitants that have the ability to exist as saprophytes, and degrade lignin and complex carbohydrates associated with soil organic debris. They also are pervasive plant endophytes that can colonize plant roots and may even protect plants or be the basis of disease suppression. Although the predominant role of these fungi in native soils may be as harmless or even beneficial plant endophytes or soil saprophytes, many strains within the F. oxysporum complex are pathogenic to plants, especially in agricultural settings.