Submitted to: Journal of General Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2013
Publication Date: 5/1/2014
Citation: Aoki, T., O'Donnell, K., Geiser, D.M. 2014. Systematics of key phytopathogenic Fusarium species: current status and future challenges. Journal of General Plant Pathology. 80(3):189-201. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: This brief review is intended to provide plant pathologists and other scientists, especially ones in Japan, with a current overview of the most important fusarial phytopathogens and mycotoxin producers. Knowledge of Fusarium species diversity and their evolutionary relationships has increased dramatically due to the application of multilocus molecular phylogenetics and genealogical concordance phylogenetic species recognition over the past fifteen years. Currently Fusarium is estimated to comprise at least 300 genealogically exclusive phylogenetic species; however, fewer than half have been formally described. The most important plant pathogens are nested with the following four species complexes: F. fujikuroi species complex noted for Bakanae of rice, ear rot of maize, pitch canker of pine, and several species that contaminate corn and other cereals with fumonisin mycotoxins; F. graminearum species complex includes the primary agents causing Fusarium head blight of wheat and barley where they can contaminate grain with trichothecene mycotoxins; F. oxysporum species complex induces vascular wilts of over 100 agronomically important crops; and F. solani species complex includes many economically destructive foot and root rot pathogens of diverse hosts. Several other fusarial phytopathogens reported from Japan nested within other species complexes are reviewed briefly. With the abandonment of dual nomenclature starting 1 January 2013, a broad consensus within the global Fusarium community has strongly supported the unitary use of the name Fusarium instead of several teleomorph names that are linked to it. Plant pathologists and other scientists who require accurate identifications of Fusarium isolates are encouraged to use Fusarium-ID and Fusarium MLST, two Internet accessible websites dedicated to the molecular identification of fusaria.