Historically, Fusarium has been important because: (i) taxonomy of Fusarium species has been a controversial issue, (ii) Fusarium species are among the most important plant pathogens in the world, and (iii) many Fusarium species produce mycotoxins that cause animal and human diseases. The genus Fusarium was introduced by Link in 1809. “Die Fusarien” was published by Wollenweber and Reinking in 1935, described 65 species, 55 varieties, and 22 forms of Fusarium. In 1945, Snyder and Hansen reduced number of species of Fusarium to nine. In 1990s, the application of phylogenic species concept based on the DNA sequencing resulted in introducing new species of Fusarium that cannot be distinguished morphologically. In 2006, Leslie and Summerell integrated the morphological, biological, and phylogenic species concepts and published “The Fusarium Laboratory Manual,” which provides details of identification of 70 Fusarium species. Although considerable research studies on Fusarium have been accomplished in the past 200 years, yet Fusarium diseases continue to be among the most important plant diseases. Fusarium fungi are the most widespread in cereal-growing areas of the world and produce a diversity of mycotoxins, including zearalenone, fumonisin, moniliformin, and trichothecenes, which cause various disorders, including cancer, in animals and humans.
Part of the book: Fusarium