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a genus of fungi of the class Fungi Imperfecti. It includes nine sections, 26 species, and 29 races. The fungi reproduce asexually by means of conidia, which vary in form, size, structure, and method of formation. The oval or ovate microconidia are one-or two-celled and form both on conidiophores and directly on the short ramuli of the mycelium. The macroconidia, which are four-to seven-celled, are falciform or fusiform-falciform. They form on branched conidiophores that are frequently gathered into distinctive pulvini—bright orange, violet, or pink sporodochia. Fusaria are also capable of forming chlamydospores during a period of intensive mycelial growth. Several species bear their spores in perithecia.
Most species are saprophytes that live in the soil on plant residues. There are many parasitic species that cause harmful plant diseases called fusarium wilts. Some species secrete toxic substances that are harmful to plants. The use of rye, wheat, barley, oats, and other plants contaminated by fusarial toxins leads to the development of alimentary-toxic aleukia in humans and fusariotoxicosis in animals. When proliferating, the mycelium of Fusarium aguaeductum, which is waterborne, can clog water pipes.
M. A. LITVINOV