Morphological and biochemical indicators of Fusarium oxysporum f sp. fragariae in strawberry crops (Fragaria x ananassa Duch) in the province of Pichincha, Ecuador
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Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae is a fungal pathogen, transmitted by soil in crops of strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.), which causes wilt disease that, kill the strawberry cultivars. The disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp., fragariae is hard to detect as the of the symptoms are similar with other soil-borne diseases. In spite of detection methods targeted F. oxysporum using molecular criteria have been developed, they have not been shown to successfully identity the unique identity of F. oxysporum strain that causes this disease. In Ecuador, the cultivation of strawberry has acquired great importance for the consumption, promoting the increase of its production. However, the process of importing plant material from producing countries for the purpose of improving production has contributed to the spread of the fungus. The objective of this study was to identify the presence of the Fusarium oxysporum f. sp fragariae by means of morphometric identification and the application of biochemical methods (BIOLOG) in the province of Pichincha. Fifty-two diseased strawberry plants and 52 asymptomatic plants were analyzed. Of these, 13 isolates were identified by morphometry as F. oxysporum. However, through BIOLOG four strains were identified as F. oxysporum, 5 as Fusarium sp., 2 F. lateritium, 1 F. udum and 1 strain as F. sacchari. The results obtained through the identification and evaluation confirmed the presence of F. oxysporum f. sp., fragariae in evaluated strawberry cultivars, thus determining the high risk to exist if the pathogen spreads in new plantations in Ecuador.