Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Funnell-Harris, D. L., and Pedersen, J. F. 2011. Presence of Fusarium spp. in air and soil associated with sorghum fields. Plant Dis. 95:648-656.


U.S. government work.


Sorghum grain, valuable for feed, food, and bioenergy, can be colonized by several Fusarium spp.; therefore, it was of interest to identify possible sources of conidia. Analysis of air and soil samples provided evidence for the presence of propagules from Fusarium genotypes that may cause grain infections. Soil population estimates of members of the Gibberella fujikuroi species complex, that includes sorghum pathogens and other Fusarium spp., suggested that adequate inoculum for systemic infections was present. Conidia in air samples within two sorghum fields were collected by passive trapping for 2 years. Subsampled Fusarium isolates indicated that numbers of G. fujikuroi increased from anthesis through maturity, which coincides with grain development stages vulnerable to Fusarium spp. Genotyping using translation elongation factor 1-α gene sequences revealed that spore trap isolates included members of G. fujikuroi that are sorghum pathogens: Fusarium thapsinum, F. verticillioides, F. proliferatum, and F. andiyazi. Also detected were F. graminearum, F. subglutinans, and several F. incarnatum-F. equiseti species complex haplotypes that colonize sorghum asymptomatically. All commonly found grain colonizers were detected from air samples in this study.