Mitosporic fungus. Hyphomycetes. Teleomorphs (sexual state): Gibberella, Nectria (Ascomycetes).
Approx. 50-70 species.
Soil, saprophytic or parasitic on plants. Many species are important plant pathogens.
Insects, water splash, and wind when dried out.
Occasionally found on a variety of substrates. Fusarium requires very wet conditions.
Aw=0.86-0.91 (minimum for various species).
Zearalenone has been patented as a growth stimulant in animals and has application as an oral contraceptive, and as an anabolic steroid (<1ppm). F. graminearum is used for the production of quorn, a mycoprotein.
Type I allergies (hay fever, asthma).
Causes keratitis, endophthalmitis, onychomycosis, mycetoma, and disseminated infection in immunocompromised patients; infections in burn victims, and systemic opportunistic infections in severely disabled hosts.
Trichothecenes (type B); T-2 toxin; zearalenone (F-2 toxin), vomitoxin, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisin. Zearalenone is not acutely toxic, and actually may have positive effects with controlled ingestion.
Grows well on general fungal media. Sporulation in many species requires specialized media. Colonies are shades of pink to orange to purple. Colors are due to both soluble pigments (observed from the reverse) and mycelial pigments.
The macroconidia are distinctive and recognizable on spore trap slides. The microconidia are less distinctive and would most probably be identified as "other colorless."
Macroconidia are distinctive and often are readily identifiable on tape lifts. However, microconidia of Fusarium (sometimes referred to as an acremonial phase) may be confused with Acremonium.