Sudden death syndrome, caused by Fusarium virguliforme, is an important disease of soybean in the United States. Fifteen species of crops, weeds, or prairie plants were evaluated for their potential as hosts of F. virguliforme. Root and foliar symptoms and plant biomass were assessed following greenhouse inoculation studies. Root colonization of F. virguliforme was determined with isolations and with polymerase chain reaction assays. Soybean, alfalfa, pinto and navy bean, white and red clover, pea, and Canadian milk vetch developed root necrosis. Soybean, alfalfa, and red clover also developed foliar symptoms following inoculation. Sugar beet and canola did not develop symptoms but had significant reductions in biomass, suggesting that they are also hosts of F. virguliforme. Corn, wheat, ryegrass, pigweed, and lambsquarters did not develop symptoms. However, these species appeared to be asymptomatic hosts because quantities of pathogen DNA detected in inoculated roots were similar to quantities detected in inoculated soybean roots. These results suggest that the number and diversity of hosts for F. virguliforme are greater than previously reported. The likely broad host range limits the efficacy of crop rotation and indicates that crops other than soybean can be damaged by F. virguliforme and maintain or increase inoculum in soil.
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