Genetic Diversity of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, the Fusarium Wilt Pathogen of Banana, in Ecuador

Freddy Magdama, Lorena Monserrate-Maggi, Lizette Serrano, José García Onofre, María Del Mar Jiménez-Gasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The continued dispersal of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical race 4 (FocTR4), a quarantine soil-borne pathogen that kills banana, has placed this worldwide industry on alert and triggered enormous pressure on National Plant Protection (NPOs) agencies to limit new incursions. Accordingly, biosecurity plays an important role while long-term control strategies are developed. Aiming to strengthen the contingency response plan of Ecuador against FocTR4, a population biology study-including phylogenetics, mating type, vegetative compatibility group (VCG), and pathogenicity testing-was performed on isolates affecting local bananas, presumably associated with race 1 of F. oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). Our results revealed that Foc populations in Ecuador comprise a single clonal lineage, associated with VCG0120. The lack of diversity observed in Foc populations is consistent with a single introduction event from which secondary outbreaks originated. The predominance of VCG0120, together with previous reports of its presence in Latin America countries, suggests this group as the main cause of the devastating Fusarium wilt epidemics that occurred in the 1950s associated to the demise of 'Gros Michel' bananas in the region. The isolates sampled from Ecuador caused disease in cultivars that are susceptible to races 1 and 2 under greenhouse experiments, although Fusarium wilt symptoms in the field were only found in 'Gros Michel'. Isolates belonging to the same VCG0120 have historically caused disease on Cavendish cultivars in the subtropics. Overall, this study shows how Foc can be easily dispersed to other areas if restriction of contaminated materials is not well enforced. We highlight the need of major efforts on awareness and monitoring campaigns to analyze suspected cases and to contain potential first introduction events of FocTR4 in Ecuador.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


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