A number of Fusarium species including F. lactis, F. oxysporum, F. proliferatum and F. solani have been implicated internationally. Some researchers hypothesised that a single new pathogenic strain had arisen and spread around the world.
The disease is unpredictable and occurs sporadically in pepper crops. It is a frequent cause of rejection of fruit by packers and complaints by supermarkets.
Tim O'Neill of ADAS is the lead researcher in HDC project PE 007. This work aims to identify definitively the Fusarium species associated with the disease in the UK, compare the susceptibility of a range of commercial varieties, investigate the influence of high humidity on infection and evaluate the potential of some bio-fungicide and fungicide sprays for disease control.
Results so far indicate that F. lactis (predominantly), F. oxysporum and F. proliferatum are the main Fusarium species causing internal fruit rot in the UK.
The inoculation of sweet pepper flowers with spores of F. proliferatum resulted in reduced fruit set and internal fruit rot. Commercial trials continue this season to investigate environmental conditions and disease-control options.
Date for your diary
27 September: British Tomato Growers Association Conference, Coventry. Horticultural Development Company
For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk