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Fusarium Wilt of Chickpea

Scientific Name
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris
Scientific Author
Matuo & K. Sato
Anamorphic Ascomycetes
Exotic species - absent from Australia

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Diagnostic Images

Chlorotic symptoms of lower leaves; wilting of green, higher leaves
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M.P. Haware, Y.L. Nene & S.B. Mathur ICRISAT
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Diagnostic Images (5)
Diagnostic Notes



The fungus infects chickpeas via the roots and moves throughout the host’s vascular system. Cell wall degrading enzymes produced by the pathogen break down the host cell walls to form gels that block the plant’s transport systems and cause yellowing and wilting symptoms. Vascular discolouration occurs from the roots to the young stems, followed by a yellowing and wilting of the leaves before final necrosis (Brayford 1998, Leslie & Summerell 2006).


Affected seedlings can be identified approximately 3 weeks after sowing and show symptoms such as drooping and paler coloured leaves. The young plants will collapse to a prostrate position. These seedlings usually have shrunken stems above and below soil level. There are no superficial signs of rotting, but when roots are split longitudinally there is a brown to black discolouration of internal tissue (Nene et al. 1978 & Haware et al. 1986).


Adult plants experience wilting symptoms which progress from petioles and younger leaflets in 2 to 3 days to the whole plant. Lower, older leaves develop chlorotic symptoms whilst higher leaves stay a dull green; with progression of the disease all leaves turn yellow. Discolouration of internal tissue (pith and xylem) occurs in the roots and can be seen when dissected longitudinally (Nene et al. 1978 & Haware et al. 1986).



The fungus


Fusarium oxysporum Schltdl. emend. W.C. Snyder & H.N. Hansen is a common soil inhabitant and produces three types of hyaline asexual spores: a) Macroconidia are usually 3–5-septate, straight to slightly curved, relatively slender and thin-walled, with a foot-shaped to pointed basal cell and a tapered and curved, sometimes with a slight hook, apical cell, 25–65 × 3.5–4.5 µm (Haware et al. 1986). They are produced abundantly on pale orange sporodochia and occasionally from hyphae growing on the agar surface. In some isolates, sporodochia may be sparse or non-existent; b) Microconidia are usually unicellular, oval, elliptical or kidney-shaped, produced in false heads, on short monophialides. They are abundant in the aerial mycelia; c) Chlamydospores are formed abundantly and quickly (2-4 weeks on carnation leaf agar) by most isolates, smooth or rough walled, usually formed singly or in pairs, but also may be found in clusters or in short chains. They may be either terminal or intercalary in aerial, submerged, or surface hyphae. The teleomorph is unknown (Leslie & Summerell 2006). The characteristics of F. oxysporum on carnation leaf-piece agar and potato dextrose agar media were described by Leslie & Summerell (2006).




There is a large number of non-pathogenic or saprophytic strains of F. oxysporum, especially in soil, and they cannot be differentiated from the tens of formae speciales of pathogenic F. oxysporum. In order to make a sound diagnosis of Fusarium wilt, it is necessary to isolate the fungus; then to identify the species and finally to carry out pathogenicity tests. Leslie & Summerell (2006) described procedures and techniques for isolation, culture and identification of Fusarium species.


Seed health tests and seedling symptoms tests can be found in Haware et al. (1986).

More Information
McTaggart, A.
05/11/2007 03:23 AEST
Last Updated
09/02/2009 13:35 AEST
McTaggart, A. (2007) Fusarium Wilt of Chickpea (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris) Updated on 2/9/2009 1:35:23 PM Available online: PaDIL -
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Free for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License