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F.A. Buffone, D.R. LaBonte, and C.A. Clark

Chlorotic leaf distortion is a common disease of sweetpotato caused by Fusarium lateritium. This fungus is unique among Fusarium species in that it grows epiphytically on leaves and shoot tips of sweetpotato. Fusarium lateritium mycelia appear as white masses on leaves, and this fungus can cause chlorosis under periods of bright sunlight. When environmental conditions are not favorable for growth, this organism is not readily observed on sweetpotato. The objective of this research was to see if DNA of F. lateritium is amplified using PCR techniques during amplification of sweetpotato DNA. Our results show cTAB extracts of sweetpotato inoculated with F. lateritium have additional bands not present in a control free of F. lateritium. Furthermore, these bands correspond to banding patterns obtained from the F. lateritium isolate DNA when amplified alone. Researchers who use sweetpotato tissue in PCR-based research, e.g., phylogenetic research, should be aware of these amplified products. This situation is further compounded because numerous F. lateritium biotypes are present in the environment.