Identification and characterization of non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum capable of increasing and decreasing Fusarium wilt severity

Leanne M Forsyth, Linda J Smith, Elizabeth A B Aitken
Mycological Research 2006, 110: 929-35
Fusarium wilt of banana is a potentially devastating disease throughout the world. Options for control of the causal organism, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc) are limited. Suppressive soil sites have previously been identified where, despite the presence of Foc, Fusarium wilt does not develop. In order to understand some aspects of this disease suppression, endophytic Fusarium oxysporum isolates were obtained from banana roots. These isolates were genetically characterized and compared with an isolate of Fusarium oxysporum previously identified as being capable of suppressing Fusarium wilt of banana in glasshouse trials. Three additional isolates were selected for glasshouse trials to assess suppression of Fusarium wilt in two different cultivars of banana, Cavendish and Lady Finger. One isolate (BRIP 29089) was identified as a potential biocontrol organism, reducing the disease severity of Fusarium wilt in Lady Finger and Cavendish cultivars. Interestingly, one isolate (BRIP 45952) increased Fusarium wilt disease severity on Cavendish. The implications of an isolate of Fusarium oxysporum, non-pathogenic on banana, increasing disease severity and the potential role of non-pathogenic isolates of Fusarium oxysporum in disease complexes are discussed.

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