Pest/Pathogen of the Month

Pest/Pathogen of the Month: February

Scientific name: Fusarium

Common names: Pitch canker fungus, Fusarium crown rot, Fusarium root rot, Fusarium wilt, Fusarium head blight, etc. 

For the month of February, we have selected the genus, Fusarium, as our pathogen of the month. It is also fitting that both February and Fusarium start with an "F". There are a number of economically important Fusarium spp. that cause disease in forestry, agriculture and human health. If you look at the APS list of economically important crops, 81 of the 101 plants listed there are affected by at least one Fusarium disease. Some Fusarium species that infect cereal crops produce toxins, or mycotoxins, that if consumed by humans and animals can lead to diarrhoea, suppression of the immune system, have hormonal and estrogenic effects and cause oesophageal cancer in humans. In forestry, Fusarium circinatum is one of the most destructive diseases of pine that limits what pine species we can plant in South Africa.



Pest/Pathogen of the Month: January

Scientific name: Euwallaceae fornicatus

Common name: Polyphagous Shothole Borer

The Polyphagous Shothole Borer (PHSB) was discovered for the first time in South Africa by the FABI team in 2017. Since then, this beetle and its fungus have been found killing trees in all provinces in South Africa, except Mpumalanga. It attacks agricultural and forestry crops, street and garden trees, as well as several native tree species.

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