Fusarium Wilt - Management


F. oxysporum is a major wilt pathogen of many economically important crop plants. It is a soil-borne pathogen, which can live in the soil for long periods of time, so rotational cropping is not a useful control method. It can also spread through infected dead plant material, so cleaning up at the end of the season is important.

One control method is to improve soil conditions because F. oxysporum spreads faster through soils that have high moisture and bad drainage. Other control methods include planting resistant varieties, removing infected plant tissue to prevent overwintering of the disease, using soil and systemic fungicides to eradicate the disease from the soil, flood fallowing, and using clean seeds each year. Applying fungicides depends on the field environment. It is difficult to find a biological control method because research in a greenhouse can have different effects than testing in the field. The best control method found for F. oxysporum is planting resistant varieties, although not all have been bred for every forma specialis.

F. oxysporum f. sp. batatas can be controlled by using clean seed, cleaning up infected leaf and plant material and breeding for resistance. Fungicides can also be used, but are not as effective as the other two because of field conditions during application. Fungicides can be used effectively by dip treating propagation material.

Different races of F. oxysporum f. sp. cubense, Panama disease on banana, can be susceptible, resistant and partially resistant. It can be controlled by breeding for resistance and through eradication and quarantine of the pathogen by improving soil conditions and using clean plant material. Biological control can work using antagonists. Systemic and soil fungicides can also be used.

The main control method for F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, vascular wilt on tomato, is resistance. Other effective control methods are fumigating the infected soil and raising the soil pH to 6.5-7.

The most effective way to control F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis is to graft a susceptible variety of melon to a resistant root-stock. Resistant cultivars, liming the soil to change soil pH to 6-7, and reducing soil nitrogen levels also help control F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis.

The fungus Trichoderma viride is a proven biocontrol agent to control this disease in an environment friendly way.

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