Focus on Cucurbits

Disease Cycle: Fusarium Wilt of Watermelon

May 2020

By Bhabesh Dutta, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Extension Vegetable Specialist
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Georgia
Tifton, Georgia
Phone: 229-386-7495

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Summary: Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum causes Fusarium wilt of watermelon, one of the oldest and most economically important diseases of watermelon. Dr. Dutta begins by reviewing symptoms and signs of disease, conditions that favor development, pathogen biology, and the disease cycle. He identifies three main sources of inoculum: seed, soil, and root and plant debris. Dr. Dutta goes on to describe the phases of infection and concludes by stating that identifying weak links in the disease cycle is critical in devising management strategies against this pathogen.

Biography: Bhabesh Dutta is an associate professor and Extension vegetable disease specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia, Tifton. His Extension program focuses on management of the many diseases that affect the vegetable crops produced in Georgia. Specifically, research efforts focus on Fusarium wilt of watermelon, bacterial spot of pepper, black rot of cabbage, and a complex of bacterial diseases of onion. Research includes understating biology and ecology of bacterial and fungal pathogens ranging from population genomics to identifying effective chemical and biological options under field conditions. The information generated is utilized in devising novel and sustainable management strategies against pathogens affecting vegetable crops.

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