What is Fusarium xylarioides?
Fusarium xylarioides is a fungus that causes coffee wilt disease. It is causing damages to coffee crops in sub-Saharan Africa since 1920s. The first outbreak was controlled in 1950s by burning the infected trees and breeding those that were naturally resistant to this infection. This fungus re-emerged in the 1970s and is currently targeting two of Africa’s post popular coffee varieties – Arabica coffee in Ethiopia and Robusta Coffee in east and central Africa.
Researchers have re-animated 70-year-old samples of Fusarium xylarioides to find out how historic genomes helped prevent the fungus pathogens from spreading. The objective of this research is to ensure sustainable response to the outbreak.