Author: Cristian F. Quispe, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Phytopathology at ZAMORANO
Photographs: Cristian F. Quispe, 2010.
Source: Dean, R., et al. 2012. The Top 10 fungal pathogens. Molecular Plant Pathology, 13: 414-430. doi: 10.1111 / j.1364-3703.2011.00783.x
Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that play important roles in the development of life on the planet, for example, they actively participate in the processes of disintegration of organic matter, agricultural production and food processing. However, they also constitute the group to which the greatest number of agents that cause devastating diseases in animals and plants belong.
The most important phytopathogenic fungi vary according to the scientific and economic priorities of a geographical region. However, some represent high risks for food security and are study models in topics related to immunology, epidemiological factors and genetics in plants. Most have successful mechanisms of dissemination, genetic variability and a wide range of hosts, which help to break the few resistance barriers available.
Therefore, it is important to focus on the study of aspects such as biology, genetic diversity and adaptability processes that can contribute to the development of better control strategies. Most studied phytopathogenic fungi belong to the ascomycete group and usually affect the grasses. In the list of the 10 most important fungi in phytopathology are:
Glossary: Eukaryotes: organisms that have complex structures of membranes that enclose specialized organelles of the cell such as the nucleus, mitochondria and chloroplasts. Grasses: group of monocotyledonous plants to which the majority of economically important crops such as corn, wheat and rice belong. Biotrophs: organisms that need living cells for their development and reproduction. Mycotoxins: toxic substances produced by fungi that have the ability to significantly affect the health of other organisms.