Leah L. Granke and
Lina Quesada-Ocampo, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824;
Kurt Lamour, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996; and
Mary K. Hausbeck, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
Since L. H. Leonian's first description of Phytophthora capsici as a pathogen of chile pepper in 1922, we have made many advances in our understanding of this pathogen's biology, host range, dissemination, and management. P. capsici causes foliar blighting, damping-off, wilting, and root, stem, and fruit rot of susceptible hosts, and economic losses are experienced annually in vegetable crops including cucurbits and peppers. Symptoms of P. capsici infection may manifest as stunting, girdling, or cankers for some cultivars or crops that are less susceptible. P. capsici continues to be a constraint on production, and implementation of an aggressive integrated management scheme can still result in insufficient control when weather is favorable for disease. Management of diseases caused by P. capsici is currently limited by the long-term survival of the pathogen as oospores in the soil, a wide host range, long-distance movement of the pathogen in surface water used for irrigation, the presence of fungicide-resistant pathogen populations, and a lack of commercially acceptable resistant host varieties. P. capsici can infect a wide range of hosts under laboratory and greenhouse conditions including cultivated crops, ornamentals, and native plants belonging to diverse plant families. As our understanding of P. capsici continues to grow, future research should focus on developing novel and effective solutions to manage this pathogen and prevent economic losses due to the diseases it causes.