Home • Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. basilici Amherst-33 v1.0
Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. basillici responsible for the basil fusarium vascular wilt.
Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. basillici responsible for the basil fusarium vascular wilt. Figure illustrates diseased basil plant infected with Fob23 comparing to a healthy plant, and three different asexual spores produced by the fungus, including microconidia, macroconidia and a chlamydospore. The strain was isolated by Prof. Robert Wick at Umass Amherst. Images credits: Jacob Maman.

Fusarium oxysporum, an ascomycete fungus in the Nectriaceae family, is predominant in native soils. These diverse and adaptable fungi have been found in soils ranging from the Sonoran Desert, to tropical and temperate forest, grasslands and soils of the tundra. F. oxysporum strains are ubiquitous soil inhabitants that have the ability to exist as saprophytes, and degrade lignin and complex carbohydrates associated with soil debris. They are pervasive plant endophytes that can colonize plant roots and may even protect plants or form the basis of disease suppression. While some species may be harmless or even beneficial plant endophytes or soil saprophytes, many strains within the F. oxysporum species complex are pathogenic to plants, especially in agricultural settings. Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a popular culinary herb cultivated throughout Europe as well as in the United States and Israel. Basil cultivation in the United States alone yields more than $300 million annually. One of the greatest threats to basil cultivation is Fusarium wilt, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. basilici (FOB). Fusarium wilt can decimate basil crops with few options for disease management. FOB is a soil borne fungal pathogen first reported in Russia, but it has since spread across Europe and to the United States as well as Israel.