New pathogen threatens fennel worldwide

Fennel has been used for a long time by mankind both in the food industry and in

pharmaceutical, cosmetic and medical fields. Italy is the world's leading fennel grower.

New Fennel Fungal DiseaseOchraceocephala foeniculi was first observed in 2017 on a 5% Apollo fennel variety grown in the province of Catania in Italy. Now the pathogen has spread to 2 more varieties: “Narchizo” and “Pompeo”, which led to the loss of about 30% of the total crop. The new pathogen destroys fennel, creating necrotic lesions on the crown, root and inside the stem.

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International research team led byDalia Aiello from the University of Catania first identified the causative agent of this disease. For this, scientists collected 30 samples of fennel in the affected areas of Sicily and studied fungal colonies from symptomatic tissues.

"Species of fungi derived from symptomatictissues were identified on the basis of morphological features and molecular-phylogenetic analysis of the ITS-LSU-SSU rDNA matrix, which led to the description of the fennel pathogen as a new genus and species of Ochraceocephala foeniculi. "

Dr. Dahlia Aiello.

It turned out that there are types of fennel withinnate immunity to this fungus, such as Aurelio, Archimedes and Pegasus. Now scientists plan to conduct additional studies of the effect of Ochraceocephala foeniculi on fennel species and the possibility of a new selection of various types of this plant.