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Persistence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae in Soil Through Asymptomatic Colonization of Rotation Crops

Henry, Peter M., Pastrana, Ana M., Leveau, Johan H. J., Gordon, Thomas R.
Phytopathology 2019 v.109 no.5 pp. 770-779
Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium wilt, broccoli, cilantro, crop residues, crop rotation, crops, hosts, inoculum density, lettuce, long term effects, plant pathogenic fungi, plant tissues, planting, population density, population growth, raspberries, soil, spinach, strawberries, tillage, wheat
Asymptomatic plant colonization is hypothesized to enhance persistence of pathogenic forms of Fusarium oxysporum. However, a correlation between pathogen populations on living, asymptomatic plant tissues and soilborne populations after tillage has not been demonstrated. Living and dead tissues of broccoli, lettuce, spinach, wheat, cilantro, raspberry, and strawberry plants grown in soil infested with F. oxysporum f. sp. fragariae (the cause of Fusarium wilt of strawberry) were assayed to quantify the incidence of infection and extent of colonization by this pathogen. All crops could be infected by F. oxysporum f. sp. fragariae but the extent of colonization varied between plant species. Pathogen population densities on nonliving crown tissues incorporated into the soil matrix were typically greater than those observed on living tissues. Crop-dependent differences in the inoculum density of F. oxysporum f. sp. fragariae in soil were only observed after decomposition of crop residue. Forty-four weeks after plants were incorporated into the soil, F. oxysporum f. sp. fragariae soil population densities were positively correlated with population densities on plant tissue fragments recovered at the same time point. Results indicate that asymptomatic colonization can have a significant, long-term impact on soilborne populations of Fusarium wilt pathogens. Cultural practices such as crop rotation should be leveraged to favor pathogen population decline by planting hosts that do not support extensive population growth on living or decomposing tissues.