Cookies on Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Your search results

Species Page

dry rot of potato

Haematonectria haematococca
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


You can pan and zoom the map
Save map
Select a dataset
Map Legends
  • CABI Summary Records
Map Filters
Third party data sources:

Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Acacia nilotica (gum arabic tree)
Albizia procera (white siris)
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)
Carica papaya (pawpaw)
Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits)
Dioscorea (yam)
Manihot esculenta (cassava)
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)
Solanum melongena (aubergine)
Solanum tuberosum (potato)

List of symptoms / signs

Leaves - wilting
Leaves - yellowed or dead
Roots - cortex with lesions
Roots - fungal growth on surface
Roots - rot of wood
Roots - soft rot of cortex
Stems - internal discoloration
Vegetative organs - dry rot
Vegetative organs - internal rotting or discoloration
Vegetative organs - mould growth
Whole plant - plant dead; dieback



F. solani is a secondary invader of potato tubers, following after pathogens such as Phytophthora infestans (late blight) and Erwinia carotovora (black leg). In the older literature the varieties 'martii' and 'striatum' are identified as the 'true' causes of potato rots. F. coeruleum (Langerfeld, 1978) is a typical 'dry rot' pathogen of potato tubers. Invasion takes place through wounds and broken or damaged sprouts. External greyish-brown zones typify rotting symptoms, frequently these are outlined with concentric shrinkages to the skin. White to bluish cushions of mycelium may emerge from lenticels or wounds. When infected tubers are cut open the rotten tissue quickly oxidises from pale brown to a darker colour. Cavities may develop in the rotten tissues that then become lined with a bluish stroma; the diseased zone grades gradually into healthy areas. Aerial organs may become wilted by the effects of F. javanicum and F. eumartii attacking growing roots, stem bases and developing tubers. The invasion pathway for F. eumartii starts in the roots and infected mother tubers and proceeds towards growing aerial organs.

Symptoms on tubers are distinguished as a glassy to brown vascular ring and dry sunken rots at the proximal stolon end. F. javanicum invades solely from diseased mother tubers producing a typical 'jelly-end-rot' (Langerfeld and Dixon, 1988).


Infection of pea plants by F. solani f.sp. pisi causes blackening and rotting of the root and cortex of the hypocotyl, resulting in foliar chlorosis and general stunting of the host.

There is often a brilliant red discoloration of the vascular tissues. In contrast to the effects of F. oxysporum f.sp. pisi (pea wilt) the vascular discoloration does not extend into the stem. Isolates of both pathogens closely resemble each other in in vitro culture and in their abilities to cause root rotting and wilting syndromes. Consequently, some authorities have suggested that they constitute a single entity. If this were the case then the increased importance of root-rot in comparison with wilting might be explained as a result of the extended use of Fusarium wilt resistant cultivars. This having favoured the segregation of pathogenic strains possessing virulence characteristics allowing them to cause root rotting rather than wilting symptoms (Dixon, 1984; Langerfeld and Dixon, 1988).

Symptoms caused by F. solani f.sp. fabae and F. solani f.sp. phaseoli to their respective hosts consist of dry rotting of the upper taproot region and stem-collar at or just above soil level. Stem tissues become reddened, gradually darkening and turning necrotic especially on Vicia spp. Sub-lethal attacks result in secondary root formation by Phaseolus spp., but the foliage exhibits slow chlorosis and desiccation due to the reduced efficiency of water uptake by the root system. While propagules of F. solani f.sp phaseoli will adhere to young roots of beans, penetration and disease development were favoured in older roots (Vogeli-Lange et al., 1995).

Isolates of F. solani obtained from peas were pathogenic to peas, faba beans and Phaseolus vulgaris (Biddle, 1996). Those obtained from citrus roots could be grouped according to their pathogenicity as severe, intermediate, mild and non-pathogenic. 'Severe' isolates caused wilting and scorching of the shoot as well as substantial root rot, the latter being characterized by cortical sloughing (Strauss and Lambuschagne, 1995). Deficiencies in boron and iron were associated with increased lesion size on bean hypocotyls caused by F. solani f.sp phaseoli (Guerra and Anderson, 1985).

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) caused by F. solani f.sp glycines has become a major disease of soyabean leading to substantial crop losses in the USA over the past two decades. Risk assessment analyses suggest that SDS is restricted by low soil moisture levels to the west of the Missouri River and by cold stress north of 43-44° latitude. Crop production in the north central region of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio is located within environmental ranges favourable to this pathogen (Scherm and Yang, 1999).

The disease has been recorded around the Lublin Region of Poland (Pastucha, 1998), Ontario, Canada (Anderson and Tenuta, 1998) and Brazil (Nakajima et al., 1996).

Losses due to sudden death syndrome have been quantified in terms of flower number, pod filling, total seeds, seeds per pod, individual seed weight and 100-seed weight and related to environmental factors (Njiti et al., 1998a).

The causal agent of sudden death syndrome of soyabean, F. solani f.sp glycines typically forms macroconidia on the lower stems and roots, sporulation is light to dark blue to blue-green. The area of sporulation can vary from pinpoints to lesions 4-6 cm² formed on lower stems and roots in the region 2.5 cm either side of the soil surface and may extend up to 10 cm down the tap root. The presence of sporulation is a diagnostic symptom used to separate F. solani f.sp glycines from other pathogens causing similar foliar symptoms (Roy, 1997a). The nomenclature and specialisation of the pathogen are discussed by Roy, (1997b).


F. solani f.sp. cucurbitae causes wilting of cucurbits, especially courgette (Cucurbita pepo var. medullosa), with associated rotting and maceration at the stem base (in contrast to the wilt caused by F. oxysporum).

Woody Hosts

Several species of Fusarium have been associated with necrotic rotting of the roots of woody perennials such as Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus). The frequency of pathogens is dependent upon site, season and calendar time, but F. solani was one of the most frequently isolated fungi in the rhizosphere (Ocamb and Juzwik, 1995).

Prevention and control


Recommendations for the reduction of tuber invasion by F. solani aim at an integration of husbandry measures during growth, harvesting and storage (Langerfeld, 1983).

Controls include:-
i. a curing period after harvesting of 1-2 weeks at temperatures above 12°C;
ii. careful handling of tubers to avoid wounding;
iii. reducing tuber handling at temperatures below 8-12°C;
iv. periodic ventilation to remove water produced by tuber respiration and correct oxygen deficits;
v. use of cultivars with physiological and mechanical resistance.

Field conditions prior to harvest appear to have little influence on subsequent infestation of tubers by F. solani var. coeruleum (Bang, 1992). Despite this the pathogen is passed from rotting parent to progeny tubers in the field (Adams and Lapwood, 1983).

Thiabendazole is the most frequently used chemical for tuber treatment, this is applied during harvesting or at storage house entrances. Thiabendazole persists for several months in its active form on the tuber surfaces and seed treatment breaks the infection chain to the next generation of tubers. Tolerance by F. solani to thiabendazole has been reported (Langerfeld, 1990; Hanson et al., 1996).

Fenpiclonil and a mixture of thiabendazole plus imazalil were more effective at controlling potato dry rot than imazalil alone. Use of 2-aminobutane tended to exacerbate the dry rot problem. The efficacy of these fungicides was similar where they were applied to seed at harvest or where seed was treated at planting (Carnegie et al., 1998).

Dipping potato tubers in water at 57.5°C for 20-30 minutes reduced spoilage due to F. solani, allowing storage for 12 weeks at either 8 or 18°C. There was no evidence that dipping in hot water injured the tubers.

Increasing the frequency of field propagation of potato tubers in rotations is directly related to the incidence of infection by F. solani var. coeruleum (Platt, 1992). Conversely, infestation of seed potato crops may be minimized by limiting the frequency of planting within a rotation (Carnegie and Cameron, 1990).

Russian studies demonstrated that a three-fold increase in glycoalkaloid levels was correlated with a two-fold reduction in the infection of tubers by F. solani var. coeruleum (Mazurczyk and Kuzniewicz, 1987). Light enhanced glycoalkaloids in tubers of selected potato genotypes increased the resistance of tubers to F. solani var. coeruleum. Surface infection and depth of rotting were inversely correlated with glycoalkaloid content (Percival et al., 1998). Some isolates of F. solani produced an extracellular enzyme induced by alpha-tomatine which was converted to beta-lycotetraose and tomatidine thereby detoxifying the effects of alpha-tomatine (steroidal glycoalkaloid) (Lairini and Ruiz-Rubio, 1998).

Husbandry systems may also affect dry rot incidence; organically produced cvs Bintje and King Edward had lower dry rot indices compared with tubers from conventional cultivation (Povolny, 1995).

Resistance to F. solani var. coeruleum is reported in clones of Neotuberosum (Lees et al., 1998). The Intergenebank Potato Database contains information regarding sources of resistance to F. solani var. coeruleum (Schuler and Hoekstra, 1997). Wastie and Bradshaw (1995) report resistance to F. solani in Solanum chacoense.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging may be used to distinguish potato tubers affected by F. solani var. coeruleum and utilised to grade out infected tubers and as a means to identify the disease in breeding programmes (Snijder et al., 1996).

Legumes and other hosts

Pea breeding lines possessing resistance to F. solani f.sp. pisi have been identified (Kraft, 1992a) and an extensive screening programme for cultivar tolerance is described by Tu (1991a). Some quantitative methods for the assessment of cultivar resistance to F. solani f.sp pisi have been developed which involve determination of ergosterol in host tissues (Gretenkort and Helsper, 1993). Cultivars of Phaseolus vulgaris with field resistance to F. solani f.sp phaseoli have been reported (Burke et al., 1995).

Breeding for resistance to sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soyabean caused by F. solani var. glycines is described by Bell-Johnson et al., (1998) and Njiti et al., (1998b). Resistance genes in PI lines 1603218 and PI 1604100 are described by Schmidt et al., (1999a, b). Molecular mapping has been applied to soybean cultivars possessing field tolerance to sudden death syndrome (Hnetkovsky et al., 1996). Results of random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis of soyabean cultivars confirmed a lack of genetic diversity for resistance to F. solani f.sp glycines (Prabhu et al., 1997).

Breeding resistant lines may be accelerated by the use of meristem cultures of host strains with variations in ploidy levels and by testing these against culture exudates from these pathogens.

Root rot of red clover is partially a result of infection by F. solani and Skipp and Christensen (1990) report selections for resistance.

Chemical soil fumigation will control F. solani but is uneconomic in practice. The most effective means of control is the use of 6-8 year rotations that exclude all legume species.

Soils suppressive to the development of F. solani f.sp. phaseoli populations have been identified in Japan. In these soils the macroconidia fail to germinate successfully and chlamydospore formation is inhibited (Furuya et al., 1979). The incorporation of barley straw into infested soil has been associated with the lysis of F. solani propagules. Addition of linseed, cotton seed, soyabean meal or chitin was associated with a reduction in populations of F. solani (Zakaria and Lockwood, 1980). It is suggested that F. solani var. coeruleum survives in conducive soils as chlamydospores and in suppressive soils these are lysed (Tivoli et al., 1990). Soil suppressive properties relate to individual pathogens and risk assessments are required in order to develop control strategies for particular host pathogen combinations (Oyarzun et al., 1997). The relationship of biotic and abiotic soil characters to soil suppressiveness is reviewed by Hoper and Allabouvette (1996).

Incorporation of mustard cake (Brassica campestris) or margosa cake (Azadirachta indica) in to field soil reduced the disease of melon caused by F. solani (Chakrabarti and Bineeta, 1991). Neem based products have also shown activity elsewhere such as against guava-wilt caused by F. solani (Khan et al., 1998). Soil amendment with neem (Azadirachta indica) seed cake, cotton seed cake, Datura fastuosa and Steochospermum marginatum significantly reduced F. solani infection on sunflowers in Pakistan (Ehteshamul-Haque et al., 1998).

Cross-inoculation of peas with avirulent strains of Fusarium reduced symptom development caused by F. solani f.sp. pisi (Kováciková, 1980). It may therefore be possible to develop forms of biological control. Inoculation of field soils with non-pathogenic species of Fusarium reduced the disease-causing severity of F. solani f.sp pisi and increased pea yields (Oyarzun et al., 1994).

Husbandry techniques such as soil flooding have been advocated as a means of reducing the inoculum potential of F. solani var. pisi (Tu, 1991b). While Kraft (1996) noted that environmental conditions that decrease pea root growth such as soil compaction and excessive temperatures are associated with diminished root-disease severity caused by F. solani f.sp pisi.

The importance of crop rotation, especially including sorghum or wheat, in diminishing the losses caused by soyabean sudden death syndrome (F. solani f.sp glycines) is emphasized by Rupe et al. (1997). Deep tillage can reduce soil compaction and increase yields of Phaseolus vulgaris and reduce root rot severity caused by F. solani f.sp phaseoli (Tan and Tu, 1995) in contrast to suggestions for the control of pea root rot. The combination of deep tillage with tolerant cultivars (snap bean line FR-266) is reported to reduce losses caused by F. solani f.sp phaseoli (Silbernagel and Mills, 1990).

Integrated husbandry procedures that included applications of calcium cyanamide (100 gm²) with dry shredded straw incorporation and soil solarisation significantly reduced soil populations of F. solani f.sp cucurbitae which otherwise causes serious damage to glasshouse cucumber (Cucumis sativus) production in Greece. (Bourbos et al., 1997). Solarization in regions with sufficiently high ambient temperatures may also be used to reduce F. solani inoculum (Kaewruang et al., 1989).

Applications of gypsum and the improvement of drainage decreased root rot disease in Piper betel caused by F. solani. These effects are ascribed to diminished capacity by the pathogen to produce polygalacturonase and pectin methyl esterase which contribute to the root rotting syndrome (Lakshmi et al., 1997).

Veterinary Significance

F. solani is a pathogen of marine turtles infecting the skin and shells (Rebell, 1981).


F. solani causes substantial economic damage. Seed tubers are generally more badly affected than ware potatoes as a result of longer periods in store and the greater risk of damage during grading. Shoots emerging from mother tubers with dry rot symptoms often exhibit a higher incidence of black-leg (Erwinia carotovora var. atroseptica). F. javanicum and F. eumartii cause significant losses to potato production in America but appear to be of only limited importance in European and Mediterranean areas.

Foot-rot syndromes in legumes caused by F. solani have been reported for many years in Europe and North America as major limiting factors to production responsible for substantial yield losses in pea and bean crops.

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) of soyabean has become an important disease in the southern USA over the past 20 years, the pathogen is now becoming more prevalent and severe in more northerly states (Scherm and Yang, 1996).

In all hosts F. solani causes substantial crop losses worldwide.