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Phytopathology. 2000 Dec;90(12):1322-9. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO.2000.90.12.1322.

Disease Development Following Infection of Tomato and Basil Foliage by Airborne Conidia of the Soilborne Pathogens Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici and F. oxysporum f. sp. basilici.


Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici, the causal agent of Fusarium crown and root rot of tomato, and F. oxysporum f. sp. basilici, the causal agent of Fusarium wilt in basil, are soilborne pathogens capable of producing conspicuous masses of macroconidia along the stem. The role of the airborne propagules in the epidemics of the disease in tomato plants was studied. In the field, airborne propagules of F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici were trapped with a selective medium and their prevalence was determined. Plants grown in both covered and uncovered pots, detached from the field soil, and exposed to natural aerial inoculum developed typical symptoms (82 to 87% diseased plants). The distribution of inoculum in the growth medium in the pots also indicated the occurrence of foliage infection. In greenhouse, foliage and root inoculations were carried out with both tomato and basil and their respective pathogens. Temperature and duration of high relative humidity affected rate of colonization of tomato, but not of basil, by the respective pathogens. Disease incidence in foliage-inoculated plants reached 75 to 100%. In these plants, downward movement of the pathogens from the foliage to the crown and roots was observed. Wounding enhanced pathogen invasion and establishment in the foliage-inoculated plants. The sporulation of the two pathogens on stems, aerial dissemination, and foliage infection raise the need for foliage protection in addition to soil disinfestation, in the framework of an integrated disease management program.

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