Kimberly M. Webb, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Sugar Beet Research Unit, Ft. Collins, CO 80526; and
Austin J. Case and
Mark A. Brick, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and
Kris Otto and
Howard F. Schwartz, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins 80523
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. betae causes Fusarium yellows in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris). The F. oxysporum population from sugar beet can be highly variable in virulence and morphology and many isolates are nonpathogenic. Rapid and reliable methods to identify pathogenic isolates from nonpathogenic F. oxysporum generally are unavailable. Little is known about nonpathogenic isolates, including the role they may play in population diversity or virulence to sugar beet. Sugar beet is often grown in rotation with other crops, including dry edible bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and onion (Allium cepa), with F. oxysporum able to cause disease on all three crops. Thirty-eight F. oxysporum isolates were collected from symptomatic sugar beet throughout the United States to investigate diversity of the F. oxysporum population and the influence of crop rotation on pathogenic variation. These isolates were characterized for pathogenicity to sugar beet, dry edible bean, and onion, as well as vegetative compatibility. Pathogenicity testing indicated that some F. oxysporum isolates from sugar beet may cause disease on onion and dry edible bean. Furthermore, vegetative compatibility testing supported previous reports that F. oxysporum f. sp. betae is polyphyletic and that pathogenic isolates cannot be differentiated from nonpathogenic F. oxysporum using vegetative compatibility.