PPDL Picture of the Week for
September 5, 2011

Fusarium Fruit Rot of Cantaloupe

Dan Egel, Extension Plant Pathologist-Southwest Purdue Agriculture-Purdue University

Folks who grow cantaloupe (a.k.a, muskmelon) may be disappointed to find some of the fruit they have struggled all year to produce are not fit to eat. The photo shown here is of a pair of cantaloupes each with a rather large lesion. These lesions tend to occur along the sutures that run the length of each fruit. When we isolated from these wounds in the laboratory we found a fungus of the species Fusarium. Although this fungus is known to cause the type of fruit rot show here, a few factors contribute to Fusarium fruit rot. First, some cultivars of cantaloupe seem to be more likely than others to have fruit rot problems. Second, the roller coaster of temperature and moisture extremes we experienced this year seems to have predisposed fruit to gaps or cracks which became infected with the fungus. Regular irrigation to reduce drought stress during dry periods can help reduce cracking. Cantaloupe growers should avoid practices that may cause wounds in the cantaloupes either during the season or post-harvest. Commercial growers should review the recent article in the Vegetable Crops Hotline about this disorder for more information <http://www.btny.purdue.edu/pubs/vegcrop/VCH2011/VCH542.pdf>.

Click image to enlarge

Fig. 1 Two muskmelons have lesions caused by Fusarium fruit rot.

Fig. 1. Two muskmelons have lesions caused by Fusarium fruit rot (Photo credit: Nathan Kleczewski)

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service