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New cases of lettuce Fusarium wilt confirmed

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New outbreaks of lettuce Fusarium wilt have been confirmed at sites in Lancashire and Ireland, with a further case identified in Cambridgeshire this summer.

To prevent further spread of the disease, growers are reminded to implement good crop hygiene and seek early diagnosis where cases are suspected.

First identified in the UK in October 2017, these latest cases confirm the spread of the potentially devastating disease. All have been identified in protected lettuce crops, which are grown in greenhouses.

Trials are currently underway at University of Warwick as part of AHDB Horticulture’s SCEPTREplus project to test the impact of plant protection products on the disease. New AHDB-funded work will start this autumn to find out more about the biology of lettuce Fusarium wilt.

Kim Parker, Crop Protection Scientist, AHDB, said: “The effective use of techniques to detect the strain of the disease identified in the UK – lettuce Fusarium wilt race 4 – in samples has provided the opportunity for prompt disease diagnosis. This has enabled affected growers to implement measures to minimise disease spread.”

Dr John Clarkson, who leads the AHDB-funded research on the disease, explained: “Lettuce Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne disease that can survive in soil for several years, so rigorous hygiene is essential to prevent disease spread between crops, glasshouses, nurseries and plant propagators.”

A technical review, summarising the current information on the disease and potential management strategies, as well as hygiene guidance can be found at; horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/lettuce-fusarium-wilt-and-root-rot.

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